Crime rarely stays within one state’s borders. Whether it is related to drugs, guns, drunk driving, or other criminal acts, it is common for one state’s resident to cross into another state to commit or continue a criminal act. For instance, an Ohio resident was recently caught transporting crystal meth into Kalamazoo, Michigan, where he was arrested and charged. Crime has no borders, but the attorneys who are able to defend someone charged with an offense do. If you are an Ohio resident who has been charged with a crime in another state, you will need to hire an attorney who can represent you in that state – not Ohio.
Attorney Licenses Are Limited by State
Most people are aware that attorneys have to complete a degree and take the Bar Exam to become licensed to practice law. What fewer people are aware of is that the bar only allows the attorney to practice in that particular state. By passing the Ohio Bar, an individual can practice as an attorney in Ohio. By taking the Michigan bar, an attorney is able to work in Michigan.
About half of the states have adopted the Uniform Bar Exam, which improves mobility in practicing law in multiple states. But the other half of the states still require potential attorneys to pass a state-specific exam. This means the Bar Exam Ohio students take is not the same as the test for Illinois or Michigan students. Even if someone passes the UBE, he or she will still only be licensed in the state where he or she took the exam. There are additional steps to become licensed in another UBE state.
Most attorneys are only licensed to practice in one state. This is why attorneys are able to represent individuals charged with crimes in that state. They cannot represent a citizen of their same state when charged with a crime somewhere else. The Ohio man charged with smuggling drugs into Michigan will need to find an attorney licensed in Michigan.
Separate Admission to Federal Courts
When individuals pass their state’s Bar Exams, they are only admitted to the local and state courts of that state. They can work anywhere in that state and practice any type of law. But lawyers have to do more to be able to work in federal courts. The rules on being admitted to the Federal Bar are determined by each federal court. An attorney can be admitted to one federal court district and not another – even in the same state.
When people are charged with federal crimes, they have to hire attorneys who are admitted to work in the correct federal court district. For example, a federal crime in Kalamazoo is under the jurisdiction of the Southern Division of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan. A defendant will need to work with a criminal defense lawyer barred in this district.
If You’re Charged with a Crime in Another State, Contact Us for Help
No matter where you are from and where you have been charged with a crime, criminal defense attorney Bradley J. Groene can help you determine where to find representation. He understands how important it is to have an attorney who can aggressively defend you in court. Call (513) 338-1890 to schedule a free consultation.