A federal criminal charge is a serious situation. You not only need to have adequate representation, but you also need to understand the process. To take control of your situation, you want to be as knowledgeable as possible. It helps to know that a federal court may have some differences from an Ohio state court.
The U.S. Courts explains that federal charges go through the federal court system. You will probably not go to a court within your local area unless you live near one of the larger cities. However, the general process is very similar to the state court. Here are some similarities:
- Burden of proof
The burden of proof is the same as in any other criminal case. The prosecution must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. This means that they show enough evidence to convince the jury that you committed the act and nobody else could have. You do not have to prove your innocence, but you may present evidence to disprove anything that the prosecution brings in front of the court.
- Bringing charges
In federal court, the government brings charges against you. The prosecutor is a U.S. Attorney. This is similar to a state court, where the government also charges you. However, the prosecutor is a local elected official who has experience as an attorney.
- Plea bargains
Similarly to state criminal cases, most federal criminal cases end in a plea bargain. In fact, over 90% of cases end this way. When you accept a plea bargain, you forego going to trial and plead guilty. If you do not take a plea bargain, you will go to trial. Plea bargaining at the federal level works the same as at the state level.
While dealing with the federal legal system may seem very different from the state legal system, when it comes down to the basics, both courts are the same. This is because they both operate on standards set by the U.S. Constitution.