The court that has jurisdiction over a criminal offense has a major impact on exactly what charges someone may face and the penalties that a conviction or guilty plea could inspire. Typically, those arrested for offenses in Texas face state charges. Local county prosecutors review the evidence gathered by law enforcement organizations to pursue charges against an individual. Circumstances determine whether someone faces felony or misdemeanor charges and the potential penalties the courts might impose.
The only thing more concerning to the typical criminal defendant than their recent arrest would potentially be the knowledge that they will face federal charges rather than state charges. Those who have been accused of violent crimes often face state charges, but those who have been accused of financial misconduct generally end up facing charges in federal court. These are some of the reasons why white-collar criminal offenses are often classified as federal charges rather than state offenses.
Federal authorities often identify the issue
Most state governments do not have the resources to aggressively pursue complicated criminal cases. Texas does provide help in the form of the Texas Financial Crimes Intelligence Center, which can help local authorities more effectively investigate and prosecute financial crimes.
However, the complexity of these cases makes them difficult to handle locally. Financial crimes often necessitate investigation by federal agencies and regulatory authorities. When federal officials or investigators build a case against someone for financial misconduct, that person will very likely have to defend against charges in federal court even if they were in Texas when committing their alleged offense.
Financial misconduct may utilize federal systems
Those accused of wire fraud will have used the internet or telecommunication systems to communicate with and manipulate the people affected. Those who commit mortgage fraud or money laundering may file inaccurate information with financial institutions or the IRS, which opens them up to federal prosecution. Any financial transfers through the Federal Reserve or across state lines would also potentially lead to federal prosecution for a financial crime.
There are numerous concerns common among those potentially facing federal charges, not the least of which is the possibility of federal mandatory minimum sentencing rules playing a role in their case and the possibility of serving a sentence in a federal facility far from home.
Understanding what often makes white-collar criminal offenses so serious can help those who have been accused of an offense better prepare for their day in court with the assistance of an experienced legal professional.