When an Ohio resident commits a crime, how do they know if they are to be tried in state or federal courts? According to FindLaw, local and state courts are established by a specific state. Federal courts are established to handle disputes involved laws passed by Congress or those involving the Constitution. Within state courts, there may also be courts established by municipalities, counties and cities.

Certain courts are authorized to hear certain cases, and this is known as jurisdiction. States have broader jurisdictions so crimes that Ohio citizens are most likely to be involved in are often tried in state courts. These may include traffic violations, robberies, family disputes and broken contracts. State courts cannot hear lawsuits involving certain federal laws such as bankruptcy, antitrust, criminal federal laws, some maritime cases, copyright, patent and any lawsuit filed against the United States.

Federal courts have jurisdiction when the cases involve a violation of any federal law or the United States Constitution or any case where one party is the United States. They also hear cases with controversies over $75,000 between citizens who live in different states.

Every year, federal courts have around one million cases filed, while state courts have close to 30 million cases filed. The federal courts have around 1,700 judgeships and state courts have around 30,000 judgeships. Although state courts hear many more cases than federal courts, federal courts are often the ones that are prominent in the media because they affect the entire nation or are important to the country as a whole.

Federal and state jurisdiction can affect you if you have been accused of committing a crime. Those who are facing criminal charges may benefit from discussing the specifics of their charges and their defense with a qualified criminal defense attorney.

This information is intended for educational purposes and should not be interpreted as legal advice.