Understanding Federal Crimes

In the United States, we have state-level crimes and federal-level crimes. State-level crimes are enacted by state legislatures, whereas federal crimes are enacted by Congress. Some crimes are only criminalized on the state level, where others are simply criminalized on the federal level. On the other hand, some crimes violate both state and federal law. For example, drug trafficking and identity theft are usually outlawed under state and federal laws. Learn more about identity theft as a federal crime here.

If someone happens to commit a crime that is illegal on the state and federal level, then the state and federal prosecutors will decide whether to prosecute in state or federal court. As a general rule, the more serious the crime, the higher the chances of it being prosecuted on the federal level. Here are some examples of federal offenses:

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is the main government agency that is responsible for investigating federal crimes, whether they’re committed by citizens or corporations. However, the FBI works closely with other local, state, and federal agencies, including the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to track down and prosecute offenders.

Generally, federal crimes incur harsher fines and penalties than state-level crimes. Despite the fact that a federal prison sentence will typically be longer than a state sentence, federal prisons are considered to be much “cushier” than state prisons. How come? Because, federal prisons tend to house the college graduates, who are “white collar criminals.” In contrast, the state prisons are lower security and house most of the gang members, rapists and murderers – the violent criminals.

Are you facing federal charges in Orange County, California? If so, contact our firm at once for a hard-hitting defense. All of our first consultations are free.

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