Based on the crime alleged, an individual can face federal charges or state charges. This has to do with the nature of the crime as well as the type of crime. Federal crimes are crimes that are against federal law. State crimes are those crimes that the states can prosecute based on state law. A felony can fall into either one of these categories depending on the nature and circumstances surrounding the alleged criminal activity. Cases prosecuted in federal court or in state court may have different punishments.
There are two levels in criminal procedure: the arrest and being formally charged with a crime. In order to be arrested the authorities have to have probable cause for the arrest. So police personnel cannot just go around and arrest people because they feel like it.
Often the police or the sheriff's office will organize a task force aimed at apprehending dangerous criminals who had been able to avoid capture. A lot of these task forces focus on individuals that have allegedly committed felonies in order to bring them to justice. A task force such as this usually includes a number of governmental agencies with arrest powers.
Once arrested, if there is sufficient evidence, the individual may be charged with the crime. Charging someone with a crime tells that person that the state or federal government believe that they are guilty of the crime and the prosecution can prove such. All felonies have different elements that must be satisfied by the prosecution. Each element needs to be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. Felonies are the more serious criminal charges including but not limited to murder, aggravated assault, burglary, arson, kidnapping and larceny. These type of crimes usually carry with them jail or prison time.
Every individual charged with a felony is allowed to defend themselves against any charges brought against them.