What Is the Difference Between a Federal and State Crime?
The difference lies in the type of crime that has been committed and where it happened. Crimes that occur across state lines become federal cases. However, a crime that violates federal laws can happen in a single state. The differences are sometimes complex and require an attorney with experience dealing with federal crimes. Let’s take an in-depth look at what turns a crime into a federal case.
Federal Cases Are Nationwide
Every state has laws that are specific to them. For instance, some states allow the use of marijuana and others do not. Federal laws on the other hand affect all states equally. Usually, the criminal offense is being investigated by a federal agency such as the FBI. Some examples of federal crimes are:
- Immigration crimes
- Civil rights crimes
- Social Security fraud
- Federal cases include those dealing with drugs and fraud
How Can State Crimes Become Federal Cases?
Crimes that often would be considered a state offense can be considered federal if it crosses borders. That is to say, it occurs in one state but then crosses into another. One way to do this without leaving the state is to commit wire fraud. This happens when the internet is used to perpetuate the crime. Likewise, if someone is kidnapped in one state and transported to another, the crime is federal. Just leaving the state makes it federal.
Other Types of Federal Crimes
When a federal law enforcement officer is killed or assaulted, the crime is federal. If someone assists an escaped prisoner, the crime becomes a federal charge. Money laundering is federal as are racketeering and embezzlement. Pornography involving children is also federal if it is shown on the internet. In addition, if a person evades serving a sentence for committing a crime, it is a federal offense. Terrorism is also considered a federal crime as is domestic violence. In fact, there are so many crimes listed as federal cases, that it would be impossible to list them here. Turn to the following link to see a fuller list of federal crimes.
Why You Need an Attorney
Federal crimes are serious, and the government does not take the time it spends on a case lightly. The investigating officers might be looking into what they believe is a federal crime for a long time before a person even knows they are there. They may interview witnesses and others to gather evidence. The interviewed party is often told not to discuss their interview with them. This usually keeps you from finding out until you are arrested.
What To Do If You Are Arrested on Federal Charges
The first thing you should do in a federal case is to wait for your attorney to be present before answering questions posed by the authorities. That means it is imperative to call your lawyer. If you do not have one, you can ask a family member to find an attorney or request a public defender. It is important for your attorney to be experienced in federal cases.
You will enter into a hearing that is used to decide if you will be retained at the facility or allowed to go home, often with an ankle bracelet. Make sure you have legal representation at this hearing. The remainder will depend on your case and whether or not a jury trial is involved.
The Travis Law Firm
Our lawyers are experienced in criminal law and will work hard to either reduce your charges or have them dropped. If you choose to plea bargain, which is common in many federal cases, we would be at your side throughout the process. In addition, when you enter a jury trial, the Travis Law Firm will defend your rights. Call (814) 277-2222 or contact us online to begin the process.