Being charged with a crime at the state/local level is scary enough for most people. Having your case moved into federal court is downright terrifying. The punishments at this level are far more terrible than you could ever expect at the state level, and the length of time served in jail is definitely a reason to hire a federal criminal lawyer as soon as you are told about your move into federal court. The following are just some examples of when and why seemingly "harmless" cases may be moved into federal court.
Not paying taxes is hardly a reason to move into federal court. Lots of people do not pay their taxes for one reason or another. As long as the state and federal governments get some of the payments, it is not tax evasion either because you are trying to make good on a debt you owe the government.
It becomes tax evasion when you either refuse to file your income taxes for several years in a row, thus "living the good life" tax-free, or you refuse to pay accumulated taxes that you know are owed. Usually, you are dealt with in court at the state level, but your case may be moved to federal court if you owe tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. In short, tax evasion becomes a federal case when you owe an unbelievably substantial amount of money to the government. Clearly, the government definitely wants its big piece of monetary pie from you, and this is how they are going to get it.
Accidental Homicide of an Official
An attempted homicide of a government official is an assassination attempt. When you did not intend or plan to harm a government official, and it was an accident, it is still a case that may be tried in federal court. For example, if you are driving through Washington, D.C., under the influence of marijuana (which is legal in the capital even though it is still federally illegal), and you hit a high-ranking government official or dignitary, causing his or her death, you have broken at least three federal laws. This would cause your case to be moved almost immediately into federal court because of the laws broken, and because of the person you accidentally killed under the influence. A few technicalities and elevated positions above the rest of society, and your case switches from the state level to the federal level just like that.
Get a federal criminal lawyer right away if either of these situations applies to you.