For those who are accused of criminal wrongdoing, the criminal justice system can seem to move incredibly quickly. A person may learn he or she is the subject of a serious criminal investigation only a short time before charges are filed and court dates are set. Even after charges are filed, there is sometimes the possibility of additional charges.
Often times, the same allegations may raise the possibility of both state and federal charges. For example, a 47-year old St. Louis man was recently charged with kidnapping a 12-year-old girl. Law enforcement apparently could not determine how the girl allegedly ended up with the suspect, but the man was nonetheless charged in Missouri and held on a $1 million bond.
In Missouri, child kidnapping is a Class A felony. However, kidnapping can also constitute a federal crime under certain circumstances, such as when there is allegedly a transfer of a child across state lines. Officials in the case above noted that additional charges could be pending in other jurisdictions, but it remains to be seen whether those charges will be filed or what they might be.
Criminal charges can change rapidly at the outset of a case. Different law enforcement agencies may be involved in an investigation, with different jurisdictions considering whether to file charges against a person or not. Each of these charges brings about different procedures, potential penalties and other considerations to keep in mind. Accordingly, while the case may be fast-moving, the person at the center of the investigation must recognize he or she has rights that must be protected.
Source: The Joplin Globe, "St. Louis man charged with kidnapping following disappearance of Miller girl," May 24, 2015