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There are three main levels of court in most states, including North Carolina: State District CourtState Superior Court and Federal Court.

The State Courts are in a separate State or County owned building and the Federal Courts are in a Federally owned building that usually sits in an important city within a State and not every city will have one. There may be several Federal court buildings per state, each in a separately assigned “Federal District.” Only cases that qualify for Federal Jurisdiction are allowed to be filed (in the case of law suits) or tried (in the case of federal crimes) in Federal court. State court Judges are often elected, whereas Federal court Judges are appointed by the President of the United States.

Criminal cases that qualify for Federal Court

These types of cases are typically those involving a federal institution (bank robbery, IRS crimes, Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE), and drug cases that involve activity crossing state lines or large amounts of drugs (usually referred to as “trafficking”). With regard to Federal criminal law, the United States Attorney, who is the prosecutor in Federal court (like the District Attorney is in State Court), has wide discretion in which criminal cases are chosen to be prosecuted in Federal court. Often, the same crime may be eligible for prosecution in both the State and Federal court systems under different “state” and “federal” statutes or laws. An example of this is an act of violence that is a serious assault in State court, which is also a “hate crime” in Federal court. Both court systems may choose to prosecute for the same activity in different ways and at the same time, but this is not always the case. Federal Civil Cases, on the other hand, typically involve Constitutional issues (Civil Rights cases, cases requiring the interpretation of one of the many Federal Statutes, etc.). Often, larger amounts of money damages are involved in Federal Court cases than those in State Court.

What Is A Federal Criminal Defense Attorney?

A Federal criminal or Federal civil lawyer has to meet all the normal requirements for an attorney, along with a few special ones: for example, he/she has to be admitted to Federal practice and would have to be sworn before a Federal Court Judge. A Federal criminal attorney must also prove himself proficient in his knowledge of Federal criminal law as his representation proceeds. Only a Federal court attorney may represent a criminal defendant or a civil litigant client in Federal court. In the case of federal criminal law, the penalties tend to be more severe than those in State court which are prosecuted under state criminal law.

How to choose the best federal defense lawyer for your case?

Federal court trials are conducted differently than those in State court, and the attorney should be able to adapt to and be experienced in these differences in order to be an effective Federal trial lawyer. Experience in handling a wide variety of Federal cases is always a good thing: federal criminal drug trafficking, bank robberies, federal weapons violations, violations of the immigration and customs enforcement laws, federal white collar crimes and cyber crime charges are a few examples of these. A federal lawyer should work hard to quickly develop a body of experience from which to draw in order to be effective for his client.

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There are details on my case that I will not discuss, but I will say that Culbertson & Associates did a great job on my civil matter. The time spent and commitment to my case was unbelievable. Before I had Culbertson to represent me the other lawyers I had didn’t have my best interest and wanted me to sign and agree to things that I didn’t agree with. Culbertson was very understanding and knows the laws very very well. His Associates in the office are very good as well and work just as hard as he does to get the job done. In the end I was very please with the ending of my case and the results of Culbertson. If you have any issue and need a lawyer I’M TELLING YOU TO CONTACT CULBERTSON AND ASSOCIATES!!!! EVEN TERRI IS AWESOME (SECRETARY)

Kevin Jones


I came to Mr.Culbertson in my time of need. He took time to speak with me and moved around his schedule so that he could represent me in court. I was nervous at first but Mr.Culbertson was smooth and calm. He looked like a movie-star compared to the other awkward behaving lawyers in ill-fitting suits. This guy knows the law, has a plan, and has the right attitude. I had to make a quick decision and if you’re in that same situation I can assure you this is your guy. He is a winner.



My son and I have hired Mr. Culbertson for several family law matters, including custody. Not only did he win our case, but he did it with real interest in us as a family. He told us he doesn't believe there's a "scoreboard" in family law as to who is winning. There is only the best interests of the family and the children. Alleluia. Not many lawyers take such a humble approach in looking at the clients' interests first, instead of their own egos. Underneath his polish, Mr. C has humility, and he cares. We really liked him as our lawyer.





Family Law

In conjunction with his vast know-how, our company leverages the robust legal expertise of working in different courts.

Custody Law

A special subset of Family Law cases involves the Custody of children, and how to obtain these rights. It is often referred to as Custody..

Federal Law | Criminal

On the Federal level, the degree of difficulty of the cases handled goes as high as a Federal war crimes case. There is no type of case..

Federal Law | White Collar

We also handle white collar crimes. Criminal punishments have gotten gradually tougher over the past few years, and good legal..

State Law | Criminal

As may be seen by Krispen Culbertson’s biography, this law practice has very extensive experience in the field of criminal law.

Corporate & Business Law

Domestically, Culbertson & Associates has “started up” scores of North Carolina small businesses. Our services include taxation advice..

International Business Law

Internationally, Culbertson & Associates has represented numerous foreign owned business wishing to do business domestically..

International Custody & Abduction Law

Krispen Culbertson is senior partner at Culbertson & Associates. He studied law at both Wake Forest University in the U.S. and at ..

Immigration Law

Culbertson & Associates is in the process of helping many undocumented workers obtain legal status (where appropriate) in the ..

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