Many offenses may be charged in either state courts or in the federal court system. Federal crimes are typically investigated by federal agencies, such as the FBI, DEA, ATF, DHS, or Secret Service, among others, rather than local police departments. Perhaps the most significant difference between the federal and state courts is the federal sentencing guidelines. The federal sentencing guidelines are an extensive compilation of factors which determine applicable sentencing ranges for each case. Although the guidelines were declared advisory in 2005, all judges weigh the guidelines strongly when exercising their discretion at sentencing. Attorneys must be specifically licensed to practice in federal court. You should consult with experienced federal defense attorney Elizabeth Mullins as soon as possible to ensure the best possible outcome in your case.