COVID-19 Notice: Our firm is open and available to help.

Things to know about ‘jurisdiction’ if you are charged with a crime

For those accused of a crime, one of the first questions that often comes to mind is the potential penalty. You may have heard that state crimes and federal crimes come with different sentences, the latter usually being the harsher. But who decides whether the accused should face state or federal charges? Can the crime be either — or both? The answer depends on a number of factors.

The federal court system handles criminal cases that allege a violation of federal law, while the state handles allegations of state law violations. If you are unsure which court is hearing your case, ask your criminal defense attorney before doing anything else. If you don’t have an attorney yet, call the clerk of the court where you or your loved one has been ordered to appear and ask if it is a state or federal court.

Do charges by the state and the feds mean double jail time?

It may be shocking, but sometimes you can be charged by both the state and the feds!

An example would be a joint investigation by the state and the federal government of a scheme by a physician’s office to defraud Medicare and Medicaid. The alleged perpetrator is an allergy doctor who also treats asthma patients. He consistently bills both the state program and the federal program (Medicaid and Medicare) for procedures he never performed.

Medicare is administered by the federal Department of Health and Human Services. Because the program is run and enforced by a federal agency, the U.S. government has the right to arrest, prosecute and punish someone convicted of Medicare fraud. But the state has an interest in this case, too; it can charge the suspect under state law or it can ask the federal government to include Medicaid fraud in its Medicare fraud case. This is possible because the federal government gives money to the states for Medicaid, allowing the federal court system and prosecutors to have jurisdiction in such cases.

Civil rights violations when murder charges don’t stick

Say you are a white man charged with the murder of a black man. You are tried in state court and found not guilty. The federal government can arrest you again, charge you with violating the civil rights of the man who was killed and try you again — the same crime, different jurisdictions. The rules against double jeopardy do not apply because double jeopardy protects you only from multiple prosecutions for the same crime by the same “sovereign.” Here, the state is one sovereign and the feds are another.

Nevertheless, most criminal cases are tried on the state level. State and local laws codify the law and have two classifications for criminal activity: misdemeanors and felonies. Felonies are the most serious and can range from an “E” felony (the lowest level) to an “A” felony (the highest).

Contact an attorney

If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges, hire an experienced criminal attorney at once. The sooner you have an attorney by your side, the more likely it is that all your rights will be protected. Do not speak to anyone about your case — not the police, not the district attorney or state’s attorney, and not even to friends and family. Any conversations you have with people other than your attorney may be used against you.

By |2020-07-16T19:35:22+00:00July 8th, 2016|Federal Crimes|

TESTIMONIALS

The moment finally came when I saw Jay walk down the stairs in the court room, he flashed me a thumbs up and I knew… I knew I won.

If you need a lawyer do not hesitate to call Houston & Alexander. There is no one that will represent you better anywhere in Chattanooga. I wholeheartedly give them five stars.

– Antonio

I had hired another law firm and they were getting nowhere with my case. I was charged with multiple offense DUIs and other charges. I was not sure where to turn and called Houston and Alexander. Johnny Houston went the EXTRA MILE for me! The other law firm had negotiated a sentence that may have made me lose my house, my kids…everything. Johnny was not only able to get my charges reduced but also the sentence net result was I was able to keep my family together.

-Colleen

We’ve been clients of Houston & Alexander for three years, with Bret Alexander representing us during that time. I can’t speak highly enough of his integrity, professionalism, and his dedication to our legal needs. We are so grateful for his guidance and effectiveness through such a difficult time. He’s an attorney you can trust and depend on to do the right thing. We are sincerely so grateful. Thank You!

– Trish

I am a Desert Storm veteran and found myself in need of legal counsel. Everyone from the receptionist to the attorney himself treated me with the utmost respect and dignity. I found them to be knowledgeable and most helpful. I would recommend Houston and Alexander for all your legal needs. Thank you for all of your help.

– C Pugh

I won’t go into specifics because they are very embarrassing for my family. But if you have a daughter who has been criminally charged with a serious charge, Johnny Houston should be your go-to gentleman. Because of his hard work, and diligence in our case, we can once again hold our heads High and consider this a lesson learned. Thank you Johnny Houston from the bottom of our hearts!

-Karen A.

My son made a couple of mistakes and was faced with having a criminal record. Mr. Houston stepped in and provided us with excellent representation. My son will NOT have a record now and is looking forward to the future. I also can’t say enough about the staff at Houston & Alexander. Always responsive and informative and really went the extra mile. I cannot recommend them enough!

– Alice

Due the stress of this pandemic and the loss of employment, my wife and I got into an argument and I ended up getting arrested and charged with domestic violence. I could not go home, could not have any contact with my wife and had no place to live. An elected official/friend referred me to Johnny Houston and his law firm. Due to Johnny’s efforts, not only did we get into court quickly, but all charges were dismissed. We are back together now and I am getting this expunged. Thank you, Johnny!

– Client

I had too much to drink one night and backed into another car. I was charged with second offense DUI and felony reckless endangerment. I was at a real low point in my life and my husband had recently passed away. Johnny was able to get the felonies dismissed and I pled guilty to a first offense. Instead of facing significant jail time and a felony, I did a few days in jail and wore an alcohol monitor. Johnny was able to humanize me with the DA and I was able to get my life back on track again. Great law firm! You would be crazy to go anywhere else.

– Karen M.

I am a college student. I was involved in a wreck and was charged with DUI and leaving the scene. I thought I was ok to drive but my blood result said otherwise. A DUI conviction would have really hurt my chances of getting a good job. Johnny and Bret told me I had a difficult case and the only guarantee they gave was that they would work hard for me. They NEVER gave up on my case and ultimately persuaded the arresting officer and the DA to reduce the charge. If YOU need help on a DUI or any other case, call them! These men are not only hard working but kind.

– Kate

I had hired another law firm and they were getting nowhere with my case. I was charged with multiple offense DUI and other charges. Johnny Houston went the EXTRA MILE for me! The other law firm had negotiated a sentence that may have made me lose my house, my kids…everything. Johnny was not only able to get my charges reduced but also the sentence . I kept my house and my family intact! I have turned my life around and things are great! Johnny did not forget about me once the case was over, either. I needed some additional help with my license and Johnny jumped right on it.

– Colleen

Johnny and Bret took my case and treated me like a person, not a number. I was looking at a long prison sentence (10+ years). These guys stepped in, calmed me down and told me that they were going to be there for me. When you first walk in their office, you have that at home-feeling. With Mrs Wanda, a very welcoming atmosphere. They really treat you like family here. I would recommend Mr Houston and Mr Alexander to anyone who needs their service. You will not go wrong with these guys. THEY KNOW THE LAW!!!!

– WARDELL

We were from out of town and had no friends or family in the area. Things got out of control and the next morning we were arrested and charged with Felonies. In my opinion we were over charged. We called Johny and he agreed to meet with us right away. Johnny was attentive and listened. Facing possible jail time and the loss of my husband,s job we were terrified. Johnny literally rescued us! Hetook the lead, met with the DA and the alleged victim and really smoothed things over. Johnny was confident and appeared to get along well with the Prosecutors and Judges. We were very fortunate to find Johnny.

– Tana

TESTIMONIALS

The moment finally came when I saw Jay walk down the stairs in the court room, he flashed me a thumbs up and I knew… I knew I won.

If you need a lawyer do not hesitate to call Houston & Alexander. There is no one that will represent you better anywhere in Chattanooga. I wholeheartedly give them five stars.

– Antonio

I had hired another law firm and they were getting nowhere with my case. I was charged with multiple offense DUIs and other charges. I was not sure where to turn and called Houston and Alexander. Johnny Houston went the EXTRA MILE for me! The other law firm had negotiated a sentence that may have made me lose my house, my kids…everything. Johnny was not only able to get my charges reduced but also the sentence net result was I was able to keep my family together.

-Colleen

We’ve been clients of Houston & Alexander for three years, with Bret Alexander representing us during that time. I can’t speak highly enough of his integrity, professionalism, and his dedication to our legal needs. We are so grateful for his guidance and effectiveness through such a difficult time. He’s an attorney you can trust and depend on to do the right thing. We are sincerely so grateful. Thank You!

– Trish

I am a Desert Storm veteran and found myself in need of legal counsel. Everyone from the receptionist to the attorney himself treated me with the utmost respect and dignity. I found them to be knowledgeable and most helpful. I would recommend Houston and Alexander for all your legal needs. Thank you for all of your help.

– C Pugh

I won’t go into specifics because they are very embarrassing for my family. But if you have a daughter who has been criminally charged with a serious charge, Johnny Houston should be your go-to gentleman. Because of his hard work, and diligence in our case, we can once again hold our heads High and consider this a lesson learned. Thank you Johnny Houston from the bottom of our hearts!

-Karen A.

My son made a couple of mistakes and was faced with having a criminal record. Mr. Houston stepped in and provided us with excellent representation. My son will NOT have a record now and is looking forward to the future. I also can’t say enough about the staff at Houston & Alexander. Always responsive and informative and really went the extra mile. I cannot recommend them enough!

– Alice

Due the stress of this pandemic and the loss of employment, my wife and I got into an argument and I ended up getting arrested and charged with domestic violence. I could not go home, could not have any contact with my wife and had no place to live. An elected official/friend referred me to Johnny Houston and his law firm. Due to Johnny’s efforts, not only did we get into court quickly, but all charges were dismissed. We are back together now and I am getting this expunged. Thank you, Johnny!

– Client

I had too much to drink one night and backed into another car. I was charged with second offense DUI and felony reckless endangerment. I was at a real low point in my life and my husband had recently passed away. Johnny was able to get the felonies dismissed and I pled guilty to a first offense. Instead of facing significant jail time and a felony, I did a few days in jail and wore an alcohol monitor. Johnny was able to humanize me with the DA and I was able to get my life back on track again. Great law firm! You would be crazy to go anywhere else.

– Karen M.

I am a college student. I was involved in a wreck and was charged with DUI and leaving the scene. I thought I was ok to drive but my blood result said otherwise. A DUI conviction would have really hurt my chances of getting a good job. Johnny and Bret told me I had a difficult case and the only guarantee they gave was that they would work hard for me. They NEVER gave up on my case and ultimately persuaded the arresting officer and the DA to reduce the charge. If YOU need help on a DUI or any other case, call them! These men are not only hard working but kind.

– Kate

I had hired another law firm and they were getting nowhere with my case. I was charged with multiple offense DUI and other charges. Johnny Houston went the EXTRA MILE for me! The other law firm had negotiated a sentence that may have made me lose my house, my kids…everything. Johnny was not only able to get my charges reduced but also the sentence . I kept my house and my family intact! I have turned my life around and things are great! Johnny did not forget about me once the case was over, either. I needed some additional help with my license and Johnny jumped right on it.

– Colleen

Johnny and Bret took my case and treated me like a person, not a number. I was looking at a long prison sentence (10+ years). These guys stepped in, calmed me down and told me that they were going to be there for me. When you first walk in their office, you have that at home-feeling. With Mrs Wanda, a very welcoming atmosphere. They really treat you like family here. I would recommend Mr Houston and Mr Alexander to anyone who needs their service. You will not go wrong with these guys. THEY KNOW THE LAW!!!!

– WARDELL

We were from out of town and had no friends or family in the area. Things got out of control and the next morning we were arrested and charged with Felonies. In my opinion we were over charged. We called Johny and he agreed to meet with us right away. Johnny was attentive and listened. Facing possible jail time and the loss of my husband,s job we were terrified. Johnny literally rescued us! Hetook the lead, met with the DA and the alleged victim and really smoothed things over. Johnny was confident and appeared to get along well with the Prosecutors and Judges. We were very fortunate to find Johnny.

– Tana

View our reviews online.

View our reviews online.

ATTORNEY PROFILES

ATTORNEY PROFILES

JOHNNY D. HOUSTON

BRET ALEXANDER

AMANDA BRANUM DUNN

JAY UNDERWOOD

CONSULT WITH OUR LEGAL TEAM

Please contact us online for a free consultation.

CONSULT OUR LEGAL TEAM

Please contact us online for a free consultation.