Legal System in the USA

The legal system in the USA is considered one of the best in the world. After all, it keeps the free world in check according to many. However, it is not as straightforward as many would like to believe. It takes some research and study to understand the legal system and adhere to the set standards to avoid jail.

How is the Hierarchy?

Federal law is that which is recognized in the entire country regardless of the state. It springs or descends from the constitution and cannot be debated otherwise. Federal law cases are heard and determined in the federal court. Additionally, every state has the legal authority to come up with its own laws, rules and legislations. Each state has the autonomy to set its own standards. Crimes that go against the state laws are heard by the state or local courts. In this case, it is better to get a lawyer from the state who understands the laws of the state best. You would be better placed.

Who Does the Law Apply To?

The federal law applies to everyone: citizens and immigrants (legal or illegal). Every individual enjoys the basic rights as provided for by the constitution. Therefore, everybody is also required to comply with these laws. However, when it comes to state laws, the laws apply when you are within the state’s borders. It does not matter whether you are a resident or just a visitor.

This is why it is important that you know a state’s laws before visiting and choosing to relocate there. What could be normal in one state might be considered a crime in another. Unfortunately, ignorance is not defense and not knowing is never an acceptable excuse once you are arrested and prosecuted.

What Happens if You Do Not Comply?

Failure to adhere to the laws and guidelines leads to arrest. There are no two ways about it. If you break the law then you have to be arrested and charged in court. Federal laws are easy to adjudicate as they are dealt with in the federal court. However, most people fall victim to state laws. It is especially common for those who do travel, live or work inter-state. Some laws may hold in some states and not in some. This is why the conflict of state laws in a popular topic in US Law schools.

Once you are charged in court, matter pertaining to bail setting, bail bond payments and bail agencies come into play. It is important to understand how these work as they could come in handy if a friend or family member gets into such a predicament.


The legal system in the USA follows a well-defined hierarchy that is enforceable in the country, trickling down into the states which also have their own laws and regulations. Everyone within the borders ought to adhere to these laws and faces arrest and prosecution if they do not. All this basic information is important and will help you to avoid run-ins with the law.

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