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.
When many St. Louis residents hear of criminal charges being brought against a person, they may not focus on where those charges are brought. As discussed previously in this blog, however, the difference between charges involving state crimes or federal crimes can make a big difference in the case. Not only do federal and state cases differ slightly in procedure, they also often carry vastly different penalties if a person is convicted of the charges.
When St. Louis residents are accused of doing something wrong, often times their first instinct is to talk through the situation and explain any misunderstanding that may have occurred. There may be nothing wrong with this when the situation involves family, friends or work acquaintances, but when the alleged wrongdoing happens to be a criminal charge, individuals' instinct to speak with law enforcement to explain the situation can land them in even more trouble.
Most St. Louis residents would agree it is important to have a level playing field in order for everyone to be given a fair chance. Unfortunately, individuals can find themselves in situations where this is not the case, such as where they may be outmatched by another person's experience and skill.
Things are not always as they may seem for St. Louis residents. This can be particularly true when it comes to criminal investigations, as law enforcement may use certain tactics that can confuse and surprise individuals.
As discussed previously in this blog, the prospect of facing federal charges is intimidating for St. Louis residents. Federal charges often carry more severe penalties than state charges, in the event someone is convicted, and therefore the federal charges should be taken very seriously.
In the criminal justice system, no two cases are the same. Judges often search for consistency between different cases in terms of making legal rulings, based on the similarity of facts or legal issues involved. In addition, different legal strategies and decisions are often made based on past experience involving similar cases. However, even when cases appear to be largely the same, there can be seemingly minor differences between the cases that make all the different to St. Louis residents.
When many St. Louis residents hear of charges brought in federal court against a person, they may think of the incarceration that may potentially result from a conviction on those charges. While prison time is a very serious penalty that can apply to a conviction on various charges, including white collar crime, individuals may be less familiar with other penalties that may apply in a particular case.
It is stunning to think of the amount of personally identifiable information that exists for each individual. Traditional information like names, dates of birth, addresses and telephone numbers still exist, of course, but they are joined by Social Security and Medicare numbers, a host of financial account numbers and newer information like biometric data , such as fingerprints or iris scans that belong to an individual.
Most St. Louis residents have seen an arrest depicted on television or in the movies, which are often shown in dramatic fashion with the accused being read his or her Miranda rights by the officer. In reality, an arrest can be far less entertaining for those involved, particularly where the arrest is unexpected and unfounded.