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I am an Oklahoma criminal defense attorney experienced in defending state and federal criminal cases, both at trial and on appeal. After years of practicing law in state and federal court I can say that there is a big difference between the two systems. Sometimes a defendant is better off being charged in state court and other times a defendant is better off being charged in federal court, it just depends on the case. Most defendants "freak out" when they learn they are being charged in federal court rather than state court. On this page I will explain the Federal Criminal System and at the same time explain the difference between the federal and Oklahoma state criminal justice systems.
Federal prosecutors file significantly less criminal charges than state prosecutors. For example in the entire United States in the fiscal year 2015, there were over 71,000 people sentenced in federal courts, this includes felony and misdemeanor charges. In 2015 in the 6 most populated counties in Oklahoma (Oklahoma County, Tulsa County, Cleveland County, Comanche County, Canadian County and Rogers County) prosecutors filed almost 37,000 state criminal charges, including felonies and misdemeanors. So in 6 out of the 77 counties in Oklahoma alone, half as many felony and misdemeanor charges were filed than in all the federal ditrict courts across the United States.
The main reason that state courts files so many more charges than federal courts is because state courts have the primary responsibility for the enforcement of criminal laws. For someone to be prosecuted in federal court the court must have jurisdiction. There are a number of things that can give a federal court jurisdiction; the crime occured on federal land, the crime involved interstate commerce, the crime involved a federally insured institution, and numerous other reasons.
Federal prosecutors are much more selective about the charges that they file than state prosecutors.
Not taking into account the charges just on a system level wide level, people charged in federal court are less likely to receive probation than the people charged in Oklahoma state court.
For detailed information on Federal Criminal Charges read "Federal Criminal Law Detailed Overview"
To learn more about criminal drug offense read "Fighting the So Called War on Drugs".
I try to respond to all inquires as quickly as possible. If you need immediate assistance you can call my office (918) 582-1313 or my cell phone (918) 230-9513. If you are in need of emergency assistance feel free to call my cell phone anytime either day or night.