Every state has both state and federal courts. The US has two kinds of courts- state courts and federal courts. This article discusses the differences between state and federal court systems. Note that “to hear” when talking about courts, means the court listening to and ruling on a case.
The first difference is that Federal courts were established by the U.S. constitution, and are controlled by the fed court system, a part of the US government. State (and city and county courts within each state) courts were established, and are controlled by each state.
The next difference is the jurisdiction of state and federal courts. The jurisdiction of a court means the types of cases a court is legally authorized to hear.
State courts have broad jurisdiction. Cases such as theft, traffic violations, broken contracts, common fraud, small claims, and family disputes are usually heard in state courts.
Federal courts limit themselves to hearing the types of cases listed in the constitution and specifically provided for by Congress. Federal courts hear lawsuits against the US, federal crimes, cases involving violation of federal laws or the constitution, antitrust, bankruptcy, patent, copyright, most maritime cases, and cases where people are in different states and the amount in dispute exceeds $75,000 (this is called diversity jurisdiction).
In some lawsuits, both state and federal courts may have jurisdiction. This allows parties to choose whether to go to state court or to federal court.
Robbing a person lands you in state court. Robbing banks lands you in federal court. Getting caught selling drugs in one city lands you in state court, driving drugs across state lines lands you in federal court. Hit and run usually lands (before going to jail) you in state court, hit and run at a federal park lands you in federal court.
A person can choose state or federal court to bring a case under federal laws, or both federal and state laws. A state-law-only case can be brought only in state court.
It is very important that one files their lawsuit in the correct jurisdiction. If one finds that they are a defendant in a lawsuit, it is very important to consider jurisdiction. If the lawsuit was filed in the wrong court, it may be possible to get their case dismissed.
For more information, see the link below: http://articles.directorym.com/Jurisdiction_Federal_Vs_State_Court-a935260.html
For more information regarding the differences between state and federal courts, please see the link below: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_court#Civil_cases