November 5, 2014 By Paul Wallin

Differences Between Federal Court and California State Court

If you are arrested for violating a law, you probably assume you will have to appear at your local county superior court. However, that is not always the case. If you are being charged with violating federal statute, your case will be heard in a federal court. This may sound scary, and it can be because you are likely facing a more serious charge. However, it will be a less terrifying experience if you are prepared for your case and you understand the differences between federal court and the California court system.

There are actually several differences between the federal court system and the California State Court system. Our attorneys wish to share with you those differences so that you can be prepared for your case.

Federal Court System

differences between federal court and California State Court
Understand the differences between federal court and California State Court.

Obviously, the federal court system is where federal crimes are heard. However, there are significant differences between federal and state courts, including:

  • The federal court system is much more formal. For example, there is absolutely no talking when the judge is on the bench. Courthouses are nice and persons in them are expected to act with a professional attitude.
  • Federal cases are investigated by federal agencies, such as the FBI, ATF, DEA, and cases are prosecuted by federal prosecutors.
  • Federal courts utilize a sentencing guideline formula or chart when imposing sentences on those convicted of a crime.

Everything is done formally and properly in the federal court system, which differs from the more relaxed California State Court system.

California State Court System

As federal courts deal with cases involving federal laws, the California State Court system handles cases involving state laws and local municipal and county codes. Here’s a breakdown of how cases are viewed in California courts:

  • California State Courts are less formal than federal courts. For example, you may see several attorneys talking amongst themselves and to prosecutors while court is in session.
  • State courthouses are generally not as aesthetically pleasing as federal courthouses, which often makes defendants feel more comfortable.
  • State cases are investigated mostly by local and county agencies such as local city police departments, and local county sheriff departments. These cases are prosecuted by deputy district attorneys and deputy city prosecutors.
  • The California State Court system does not have a sentencing guideline structure to follow when imposing sentence.

State courts are less intimidating to defendants, but even if your case is being heard in a state court, you could face serious consequences.

Call a Federal Attorney at Wallin & Klarich Now

federal court
Our attorneys are experienced in both federal and state courts.

If you are facing charges for violating federal statute, it is important to contact a practiced California federal defense attorney right away. The legal process can be confusing and complex, which is why you need an attorney who has valuable experience with the federal court system. At Wallin & Klarich, our skilled attorneys have been successfully defending our clients facing federal charges for over 40 years. Call us today so we can begin to help you.

Our attorneys will work with you to create a strategy unique to your defense. We have offices located in Orange County, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, Victorville, West Covina or San Diego so that we are positioned to help you no matter where you work or live.

Contact our offices today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free, no obligation phone consultation. We will be there when you call.

AUTHOR: Paul Wallin

Paul Wallin is one of the most highly respected attorneys in Southern California. His vast experience, zealous advocacy for his clients and extensive knowledge of many areas of the law make Mr. Wallin a premiere Southern California attorney. Mr. Wallin founded Wallin & Klarich in 1981. As the senior partner of Wallin & Klarich, Mr. Wallin has been successfully representing clients for more than 30 years. Clients come to him for help in matters involving assault and battery, drug crimes, juvenile crimes, theft, manslaughter, sex offenses, murder, violent crimes, misdemeanors and felonies. Mr. Wallin also helps clients with family law matters such as divorce and child custody.

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