How a Crime Becomes a Federal Offense

If you are charged with a crime, it will likely be a state-based offense. This means that the laws that apply are generally confined to the statutes and regulations passed by a state’s general assembly. For example, Florida has different on how it handles, and potentially punishes, first-time DUI offenders compared to North Dakota. For a federal offense, you’re dealing with the federal criminal code, which can be enforced in all 50 states.

What Exactly Constitutes A Federal Crime?

Simply put, a “federal crime” is one that is charged and prosecuted under the federal criminal code. There are several reasons why and how a state crime can become a federal offense. Let us take a look at some of the most common ones:

  • The alleged criminal action crosses state borders — The U.S. Constitution allows the federal government jurisdiction over multi-state issues. Drug trafficking, human trafficking, kidnapping etc are federal crimes when the transfer takes place across state lines.

  • The crime takes place on federal property — The federal government has complete jurisdiction over its structures, buildings, military offices, highways and national parks. Any crime that occurs on these properties is by default a federal crime.

  • The offense is committed against a federal officer — U.S. Code Title 18 ensures officers and representatives of the government are protected during the execution of their official duties. Any offense against a federal officer is therefore a federal offense.

  • The accused uses a federal instrument to carry out the crime — Using the U.S. Postal Service, for example, to carry out a crime of fraud or of delivery of prohibited substances is also a federal crime.

  • The offense violates a federal regulation or is committed against a federal agency — Federal agencies like the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Internal Revenue Service have their own sets of applicable laws and regulations and violating them amount to federal offense.

Common Examples Of Federal Crimes

The following are common examples of federal crimes:

  • Bank fraud;
  • Wire fraud;
  • Mail fraud;
  • Healthcare fraud;
  • Counterfeiting;
  • Insider trading;
  • White collar crimes;
  • Money laundering;
  • Racketeering;
  • Bribery;
  • Embezzlement; and
  • Drug trafficking.

Handling federal criminal cases is not an easy task, as it involves a multitude of exceptionally complex laws and specific investigation tactics that comes only with experience. Federal criminal cases also tend to move quicker as compared to state criminal litigation, with a shorter discovery period.

Contact an Experienced West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney Today

As you can see, if you or a loved one is the subject of a federal criminal investigation or are facing federal charges, you need an experienced West Palm Beach federal criminal defense attorney with dedication, knowledge and skill. Contact The Skier Law Firm, P.A. for a free, confidential consultation.

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