Justice 101

Frequently Asked Questions

Federal and State Legal Systems

  1. What is the difference between the U.S. Attorney's Office and the state prosecutor’s office (whether the district attorney, county/city prosecutor, or the state attorney general’s office)?

  1. What are federal crimes?

investigations & violations of law

  1. Does the U.S. Attorney's Office investigate crimes?

  1. What should I do if I have evidence of a federal crime?

  1. What should I do if I have evidence of a state crime?

  1. How can I find out if a particular matter is being investigated by the federal government?

  1. What if the U.S. Attorney declines a case?

  1. What can I do if my civil rights have been violated?


  1. How can I get legal advice or help?

  1. Can you suggest someone who could represent me?

  1. What can I do if my lawyer is not properly helping me?

  1. Can the DOJ help me get a ruling in a case?


  1. How can I get my sentenced reduced for helping the government in a case?

  1. How do I challenge my sentence?

  1. How can I file a motion to vacate my sentence or appeal my case?

  1. How can I appeal my conviction or sentence?

  1. How can I get a pardon?

  1. What do I do if I have been the victim of a federal crime?


  1. How can I report federal prison conditions, the inmates, or prison employees?

  1. How can I request a prison transfer within the federal prison system?

  1. How can I complain about state prison or request a transfer within the state system?

NOTE: The Department of Justice has no authority to intervene in matters of state law. The Department of Justice can assume jurisdiction only when there has been a violation of federal law. Accordingly, you may want to consider consulting with local law enforcement agencies, your state’s Attorney General’s Office, or the appropriate state or local officials. Administrative members of the court with jurisdiction over your matter or private counsel may also be useful in addressing your concerns.

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