While most criminal offenses are prosecuted in state court, the United States federal courts also have jurisdictions over certain types of criminal offenses.
In the federal courts in and around Puerto Rico, the prosecuting attorneys with the United States Attorney's Office (USAO) prosecute criminal offenses.
Jurisdiction to prosecute the case within the federal criminal justice system can occur because the crime impacts interstate commerce, the crime occurred on land owned by the federal government or an Indian reservation, or the allegations involve a loss or harm to the federal government.
Criminal defense attorneys in federal court fight serious felony charges, minor federal offenses, petty felony offenses, and infractions.
Cases in the federal criminal justice system can include everything from tax evasion to drug or firearm charges, to civil rights violations.
Founded in 1958, NACDL is the largest organization for criminal defense lawyers fighting to preserve fairness within America's criminal justice system. The organization has more than 10,000 direct members including criminal defense attorneys in private practice, public defenders in state or federal court, U.S. military defense counsel, law professors and judges.