This dilemma comes up from time to time. Unfortunately, believe it or not, the federal courts generally do not observe double jeopardy when it regards a state conviction serving as a block to a federal conviction. This happens a lot with, for instance, drug cases. There really is no protection from the state prosecution occurring and then the feds picking it up too. Most federal crimes have a one year statute of limitations period, but of course I would have to know precisely what the person was arrested for before saying for sure how long the feds had to indict, i.e. pursue charges against, him or her.
I will add that right now is definitely the time that this person should be looking for a good attorney to represent them and see if they can minimize the damage and hopefully keep it to at most one jurisdiction prosecuting them.
The length of time the federal prosecutors have to determine whether to proceed with charging an individual depends on the crime charged.
Double jeopardy does not apply to state then federal prosecutions for the same conduct. They area considered "separate sovereigns" (like different countries) .
I wish you the best.
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It depends, however you should use this time to hire an attorney, and in one small way - it give you time to save up some money for attorney fees.
Attorney Stacy E. Pepper is licensed in all State and Federal Courts in Mississippi. He is a founding Partner in the law firm of Pepper & Odom, P.C. Nothing posted here constitutes any attorney client relationship and is meant for educational purposes only. Office hours are 8:00 a.m till 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Phone: 601-914-9219 Facsimile: 888-456-2160 www.pepperodom.com
The federal and state entities are separate entities for the purpose of double jeopardy. So, both the feds and the state prosecutors can pursue charges against you, even if those charges are identical in every element. Many times, with the help of a good attorney, you can negotiate a pre-indictment agreement with both in order to minimize the damage. (This may require you to plea on a "Bill of Information." Which is a fancy way of saying that you are waiving the formal indictment process.
The best advice for you right now is to retain counsel immediately.