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Federal vs. State Crimes

Posted by on Jan 11, 2020 in Criminal Defense | 0 comments

The American criminal justice system is, in a word, confusing. One of the most confusing aspects of the system is whether a criminal gets tried through the state or federal courts. While the majority of crimes are tried through the state court, there are certain crimes that are usually prosecuted on the federal level.

Understanding which crime goes where can be a dizzying task. I decided to whip up this blog post to outline the differences between state and federal crimes. If you’re curious, keep reading!

When is it Federal Jurisdiction?

As previously stated, the majority of crimes are crimes under state law. Thus, these criminals will be prosecuted in the state courts and sent to state prisons if convicted of a crime. 

The state has the power to legislate pretty much any crime, as long as the law written is constitutional. The federal government, however, is more limited and can only pass laws around crimes that are related to some federal or national interest. National interest is broadly defined to include:


  • Crimes on federal land or involving a federal officer. For example, the murder of an FBI agent would be eligible to be tried in the federal courts.
  • A crime where the criminal crosses state borders. An example of this would be when a kidnapping victim being moved from Texas to Arizona by the defendant.
  • Violations of immigration and customs law. A common example of this is the importation of child pornography.
  • Criminal conduct in multiple states. If a serial killer killed multiple people in several different states, the federal government could have jurisdiction. 


Differences in Prosecution

There are several differences between federal and state prosecution. In federal prosecution, the crime is investigated by FBI officers or DEA agents, and they are tried by an Assistant United States Attorney — a federal prosecutor. The case goes before a federal judge, who is appointed to a life-term by the president.

State crimes are investigated by police departments, sheriff offices, and any applicable state agencies. The cases are then tried by assistant district attorneys or city attorneys. Cases are tried in front of a judge like in federal prosecution, but judges do not serve for a life term. Some states have judicial elections and others have other systems like appointments.


In federal court, judges have advisory sentencing guidelines that suggest how to sentence a criminal convicted of a crime, and judges usually follow these guidelines. For the most part, federal sentences are longer than state sentences for the same crime. This is in part due to harsh mandatory sentencing rules on the federal level, particularly for drug crimes. 

What to Do

Whether you are charged with a federal or state crime, it is imperative that you reach out to a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. It may seem tempting, but don’t attempt to save money on an attorney by representing yourself. A criminal defense attorney has the skills and experience necessary to help you avoid a harsh prison sentence and possible fines.

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Consider Bankruptcy

Posted by on Jun 12, 2019 in Business | 0 comments

Have you ever looked at your bank account and truly wondered how you would make it to the next payday? If not, then congrats! You are more fortunate than most Americans.

Thankfully, the rate of poverty has decreased in most communities in the past few decades. However, it is very easy to look around our economy and feel as if the system is set up against you, not in your best interests.

Some people turn to blame others. Throughout history, other groups have been blamed for the economic troubles of others. While politics can be complex, and the reasons for particular economic troubles surely cannot be addressed in one blog post, it can be said pretty simply that there is no single group responsible for all of your financial troubles.

Nor is it completely your fault! Often, it seems like discussing economics leads to an odd feedback loop in which your options are:

  • Blame all of your money problems on a group or issue (i.e. immigration)
  • If not this, then blame all of your money problems on your own actions; degrade and feel bad about yourself in the process

Well, I am here to discuss an option to get out of this cycle and to get out of this particular rut: bankruptcy.

Despite disagreements about finances being one of the biggest contributors to divorce in America, and despite the physical and emotional toll that stressing about money can contribute to your life, many people shy away from declaring bankruptcy.

Maybe bankruptcy has a bad reputation because it is associated with either failing businesses or truly broke people. However, more people claim bankruptcy than you would imagine. According to, just one US state (California) had over 200,000 bankruptcy filings in 2011!

Do not let the reputation of bankruptcy dissuade you from even exploring the financial tool as an option. I would never advise you to lie on financial documents, so you might be curious why bankruptcy could be an option for someone who is not on their very last dollar.

Well, according to the expert Central Texas Bankruptcy Attorney Erin Shank and her team, bankruptcy could be declared for lots of reasons. Do not wait until you are at your last $20 to begin exploring your options to get a helping hand and begin anew.

Many types of debts can be covered under bankruptcy. The one exception, famously, is student loan debt. However, being able to deal with different types of debt — including money you might owe for past medical treatments — could help you better deal with student loans.

Despite being a great tool to use in desperate financial times, declaring bankruptcy shouldn’t be taken lightly. To begin the process, you have to sign important documents under the penalty of perjury. As a result, it is in your best interest to speak with a bankruptcy lawyer who can clarify any questions you might have about the process.

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Delayed Treatment? Here’s What to Do

Posted by on Mar 11, 2019 in Delayed Treatment, Medical Malpractice | 0 comments

When you work as a doctor, your everyday decisions can impact your patients for the rest of their lives. Most professions allow for small slip-ups every once in a while when on the job, but this is not really true with doctors. If you went to the doctor’s office and they were unable to give you a correct diagnosis, this could impact you for the rest of your life. In the worst scenarios, it could even shorten it. I recently began to wonder what I would do if I found myself in a situation like that. My kids have to do physical exams with the doctor every year so they can play sports during the school year. I want the doctors to be on their A game and not miss anything that could cause an issue while they’re training. If they did mess up, I wanted to know what my plan of recourse would be. I found some good information on the website for McCutchen & Sexton – The Law Firm. They are Fort Smith delayed treatment lawyers, meaning that at their firm, they work with people who have been affected by misdiagnosis and delayed treatment in the Fort Smith area. For years they’ve been helping people take good legal recourse when a doctor has caused them harm. They know what’s relevant in deciding a delayed treatment case.

If you attempt to sue a doctor for wrongful diagnosis, it’s your job to show a judge or a jury that your doctor was negligent towards you. In order to be considered negligent, a doctor will have done something that is vastly different from how a normal, reasonable doctor would have acted. When you go in for an appointment, normal doctor protocol is that doctors should perform an initial evaluation of a patient and make a list of all the potential ailments. From this point on, doctors will perform tests in order to make that list more narrow. They may at this point send you to a specialist or diagnose you and begin treatment. Sometimes this process can extend for up to several weeks. If a doctor does not put the right diagnosis down, or if their tests do not lead to a correct diagnosis, this can delay treatment for weeks, even months. This may be due to a doctor being found negligent in court.

Sometimes, you can receive money even if your doctor did everything right. There are some situations that are simply unavoidable, even if there is no human error. Maybe a machine was malfunctioning while you were using it. Sometimes lab test results are not collected or analyzed correctly. In these situations, you can receive money on behalf of the hospital itself or maybe another healthcare professional. Although, in these cases, you will need to prove that a lab worker or lab machine was not working correctly.

Each of these situations can lead to a misdiagnosis that causes delayed treatment. Delayed treatment allows treatable diseases to fester and cause you more harm than they would had they been detected early. If I or a loved one is ever misdiagnosed, I’m certainly going to hire a lawyer!

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Why We Need To Talk More About Boats and Booze

Posted by on Aug 31, 2018 in Boat Accidents | 0 comments

Living as I do near the coast in South Carolina, I, of course, know a lot of people with boats. Now, despite the location, boats and water are not my thing (Im here for family and for my job, Im not particularly partial to that beach everyone goes on about). But as I say, I know a lot of people who love to spend the whole summer out in the water, which means I know some people who have had some trouble about their boats and their booze.

What Ive found is, we need to talk about boating and booze because a lot of people dont know anything about it, and thats a problem. I know some people who have gotten into trouble because they didnt really know there were any laws about drinking on a boat. After all, what is the classic image of going out on a boat? Its drinking and fishing. Thats why a lot of people get a boat in the first place. And with so much water, a lot of people just assume there are no rules about how much they drink and how much they boat. Its a little hard for some to grasp that, as the local law firm Truslow & Truslow point out, a BUI (boating while under the influence) is treated just as seriously as a DUI (driving while under the influence).

For those who do know, theres still a need for more education. After all, one mistake, and perhaps even a misunderstanding or misreading from the police, can lead to serious consequences if the boaters dont know their rights or when they should seek some extra help. A single BUI conviction can lead to jail time.

Think about that. Some guy who had too much on a holiday weekend while on his boat might end up in jail when theres nothing around but the ocean and the waves. It makes sense, of course, since it can lead to serious accidents, but on some level, it seems a bit too extreme.

So, we have to start talking about these things and educating boaters. They need to know what the limits are, what the punishments are, and what they should do if they get in trouble. Talking about it before they get the boat, before they get the license, and regularly afterwards, will help prevent too much drinking in the first place. It will also protect boaters if they make that one-time mistake and take on a little too much on that holiday weekend.

While Im not the guy youll find on a boat or at the beach, I want that area to be safe for everyone, especially my friends and family. That means safer boating, and it also means more awareness of what should be done in the event too much drinking has taken place.

So, lets all start speaking up. We need to get this information out there. Lets keep each other safe, and lets look after each other when one of us makes a mistake.

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Wisconsin and medical malpractice

Posted by on Oct 2, 2017 in Medical Malpractice | 0 comments

Medical Malpractice is one of the top three leading causes of death in the United States, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. There is a reason that the state of Wisconsin does not have the malpractice lawsuit statistic to match this leading cause of death. Wisconsin has strict laws regarding who is actually eligible to file a lawsuit after a malpractice death or injury. According to Wisconsin law, only the spouse, or minor child of the deceased is allowed to file a lawsuit on medical malpractice, which excludes a large party of people who do not fit those categories.

Knowing the rare nature of winning medical malpractices in Wisconsin, there have been two recent wins for these suits, which is astounding. The first win comes from Deshawn Gray who checked into the Wheaton Franciscan Hospital in 2012 at age 28, for a fractured knee after a motorcycle accident. Shortly after the surgery to repair Gray’s knee, he developed acute compartment syndrome, which means his tissue and muscles were swelling to the point that it cut off the blood supply, which caused the nerves to die, and for Gray to lose his leg.

Wisconsin has medical malpractice caps on rewards. Gray should have won $1.5 million to compensate for medical bills, pain and suffering, the loss of companionship of his 7-year-old son, and any future medical bills. However, in order to ensure he receives something, Gray agreed to get the $750,000, in order to not get the whole reward taken away.

Wisconsin law strikes again as Colleen Daniels dies due to medical malpractice, and no one can sue for her. Colleen came to the hospital in 2011 after a car accident, and as the doctors shoved a breathing tube down her throat, down the wrong pipe into her stomach, as she suffered and paramedics tried to take the tube out, and the doctor would not let them. Unfortunately for Daniels, she was divorced, and her kids were 18 and older, so the state of Wisconsin, would not let anyone sue on her behalf for medical malpractice.

To get around Wisconsin’s strict law, Daniels attorney opted for a pain and suffering suit on behalf of the estate, which let the case be settled outside of court. The doctor’s medical license was suspended, and the Daniels family received “low six figures” in compensation, mostly from the doctor’s insurance.  

With harsh laws facing the victims of medical malpractice in Wisconsin, it is important to know if you can file a lawsuit, and to a hire a lawyer to either help you get around these laws or help you win the compensation you deserve if you qualify. There are many things you can receive compensation for, including medical bills, ongoing rehabilitation/therapy costs, costs of missed work, and pain and suffering. Hiring a lawyer is the first step if you or a loved one has fallen victim to medical malpractice. There is no reason you should suffer financially as well as physically and emotionally.

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