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The Differences Between State And Federal Court For Criminal Defendents

When a potential client calls our firm and tells us that they are charged with a criminal offense, one the first things we generally ask them is whether they are charged in state or federal court. There have been several instances where we have represented two individuals at the same time who are charged with similar offenses but one has been charged in federal court and one has been charged in state court. Indeed, this has happened several times where we have simultaneously been representing two individuals charged with drug offenses but one is charged in state court and one is charged in federal court. It also happened very recently where we simultaneously represented a defendant charged with a child pornography offense in state court and also represented a defendant (actually he was the spouse of an FBI agent) charged with a child pornography offense in federal court.

The reason that this is such a concern is that, often, the results for the defendants charged in state court are dramatically different than the results for the defendants charged in federal court. Indeed, it is not unusual for a defendant charged with a drug offense or child pornography offense in state court in Dallas County to be placed on probation and a defendant charged with the same or similar offense in federal court to be sentenced to ten year or more in prison.

Why is this? In state court in Texas, regardless of the offense with which a defendant is charged with, he can be placed on some type of community supervision. For example a defendant can commit murder and be placed on community supervision in state court. On the other hand, federal court sentencing is done under a system of guidelines that score a defendants offense and criminal history using a grid system. This grid system can lead to very harsh sentences even for first time offenders. Moreover, most drug offenses in federal court require mandatory minimum sentences under the federal, drug statutes. I recall one time many years ago representing a client charged with counterfeiting in federal court who faced a two year sentence under the federal sentencing guidelines and his wife bringing me a newspaper article about a murder defendant in state court being placed on probation and me having to explain to her the unfair differences between state court sentencing and federal court sentencing.

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What Is The Impact Of Identity Theft On Victims

Identity theft is a very serious crime 2which involves a theft who uses personal information, financial and credit information of an individual for almost any purpose. The FTC or federal trade commission has reported that nearly 8 million US citizens had become victims of identity theft during 2005 and this figure has increased by nearly 25 percent by the year 2007.

Therefore protecting your identity from theft is critical and the impacts of this crime can be devastating on your mental wellbeing and also your credit or financial status.

Emotional impact of id theft

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What to Look For in a Criminal Defense Lawyer

Find out how many jury trials the lawyer has had in criminal cases – You must know how many jury trials your attorney has had in misdemeanor and felony cases. Competence and skill in jury trial is a criminal defense lawyer’s most important skill. Unfortunately, if you spent any time watching jury trials at courthouses around Texas, you would be shocked to see how many horrible trial lawyers practice in our courtrooms. You would also see the shocked look on the face of their unfortunate clients! It is too late for them, but not for you. You must understand that lawyers do not learn how to try cases in law school. Lawyers only get good at trying cases by trying lots of cases. Lawyers who do not have a lot of trial experience will not advertise it. Be wary if their jury trial experience is not spelled out on their website. There are exceptions, but lawyers who spent some time as a prosecutor usually have more trials than lawyers with the same number of years of experience who started out in private practice.

2. Board Certification or at least high percentage of practice devoted to criminal law – Criminal Law is an ever-changing field. Lawyers who “dabble” in criminal law will not be able to keep up with changing statutes and case law, let alone maintain a reputation with the judges and prosecutors. Also, trying a case is not like riding a bicycle. Trial skills must be maintained and honed through litigating criminal matters in the courtroom.

Board certification is a good way of knowing that your lawyer has devoted himself to criminal law. Many excellent criminal defense lawyers are not board certified, but it is sometimes difficult for someone who is not familiar with the legal community to sort out who is good and who is not. A board certified criminal lawyer must be license to practice law for at least 5 years, substantially devoted their practice of criminal law for 3 years, experienced in a wide variety of criminal matters, documented as completing substantial hours of criminal law continuing education, evaluated by fellow judges and lawyers, and tested successfully at a day-long written examination on state and federal law in Austin. Less than 10% of criminal defense lawyers are board certified. Only this group can even advertise that they are criminal law specialists. That should matter to you.

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Free Criminal Records

Everyone is bound to encounter different experiences in his daily life. Your child may be invited to go to a friend’s house for a party, or you may have found someone new who asked you for a date or the other way around, or some other cases in which a certain individual is involved. Naturally, when someone is into one of these scenarios, one of the things that he makes sure he has is protection from that other person. Thus, it becomes a necessity to check on Illinois Criminal Records.

For a minimal amount of fee, anyone can already gather this information before at the state police office or the circuit courts. It’s just that there are a lot of procedures and rules that a person has to go through in conducting the search through these offices, which in turn, make the process tedious and troublesome. The long waiting time that is needed prior to receiving the report is also an issue in this method.

Probably, the most important benefit in gathering information from this Criminal Records Free To Public is the protection and security that it guarantees to grant not only to you, but to the entire family as well. When you dig through these documents in the state of Illinois, you will also gain knowledge about other factual files such as correction records, records of felonies, traffic violation, conviction, and sex offender records.

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The Basics Of A Criminal Justice Degree

Following the tragic events of 9/11 there is today a much greater awareness throughout society about such issues as homeland security, airport security, public safety and management, international terrorism, criminology and criminal psychology and many other related subjects. Interestingly these are all subjects you can major in or obtain specializations in through degrees in criminal justice/criminology. And more interestingly, such a degree in criminal justice/criminology can get you a job a lot more easily than a degree in a number of other subjects. This is because the US Bureau of Labor Statistics has identified careers in criminal justice as one of the top five careers in the coming years in terms of future job opportunities.

You can get degrees in criminal justice/criminology from both traditional schools as well as online schools. If you are a working adult, online courses will suit you a lot more than a traditional program since to complete an online program you do not have to give up your job or relocate or disrupt your life in anyway.

More importantly, if you are a working adult already working in the field of criminal justice, an online degree will get you that much coveted promotion or switch to a more well paying job. You can also get a degree much quicker than through the traditional route as most online criminal justice/criminology programs allow you to take credit for your working experience or any on-the-job training that you may have gone through.

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