When you or someone you love is facing criminal charges, it is wise to start doing your research in order to better understand the law and what you might expect during the judicial process. The most fundamental place to start is to learn the difference between state and federal law. One area of law involves misdemeanor convictions, while the other deals with felonies. Continue reading to learn what you need to know about state and federal law, including what they are, when they were created, who created them, their constitutional power, and much more.
State law refers to the laws that each individual state in the United States of America use to govern their citizens. They are sanctioned by the state legislature, and implemented upon the governor’s signature. State laws are only applicable in their own state, however, many states share the same types of laws. Not only do these laws pertain to both residents and visitors to the state, they also apply to business entities, corporations, and all other organizations that operate within the state borders.
When a person breaks a law on a state level, they face being convicted of a misdemeanor. There are multiple levels of misdemeanors, all of which come with their own separate set of penalties and procedures.
Federal law was created by the United States Congress. Before a law can become a federal one, a bill must be passed by both houses of Congress, and signed off by the President of the United States. These laws pertain to everyone in all 50 states in the country, regardless of citizenship. The U.S. Constitution shapes the foundation for federal law by establishing government power and responsibility, as well as protecting citizen rights.
When a person breaks a law on a federal level, they face being convicted of a felony offense. There are multiple levels of felonies, all of which come with their own separate set of repercussions. Common federal offenses include murder, sexual assault, fraud, theft, and drug trafficking.
Most often, state laws are parallel with federal laws, but sometimes they do conflict with one another. When it comes to dominance, Federal law always prevails over state law because the U.S. Constitution gives the federal government superiority over the state government. So if there is ever a case in which both levels of the law are conflicting, the federal ruling will apply.
On the other hand, if the state law provides more rights to a citizen, it is presumed to prevail over federal law. Although state laws can give its residents more rights than federal law, they are not intended to lessen or restrict the rights of a U.S. citizen.