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Understanding the Differences Between Federal and State Crimes

Most people are unaware of how crimes are prosecuted until they are arrested. If you or someone you know has been arrested for a crime, it’s important to understand the difference between a federal and state crime. You should know that federal and state crimes are investigated and charged differently and require the expertise of an experienced federal criminal defense attorney in Tampa. This article will further explore the differences.

Federal Crimes

Federal crimes are those that break federal law and legal code. The federal government brings charges against individuals that commit federal crimes. There are many types of offenses that fall under the federal crime umbrella. For an extensive list of federal crimes, refer to Title 18 of the United States Code, which is the government’s main criminal code that deals with federal crimes and criminal procedures. The following are types of federal crimes that are prosecuted in federal court:

  • Drug trafficking
  • Hate crimes
  • Computer crimes
  • Immigration violations
  • Gun crimes
  • White-collar crime
  • Terrorism
  • International money laundering
  • Crimes committed on federal property
  • Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO)
  • Major thefts (i.e., cargo, jewelry, art, gems)
  • Assassinations (i.e., President, Vice President, Member of Congress)

Crimes most often prosecuted in federal court include drug trafficking, organized crime, financial crime, large-scale fraud, crimes against federal officials, and fraud against the United States. Federal crimes are investigated by government agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the Secret Service. Cases that go to trial are prosecuted by the United States Attorney.

State Crimes

State crimes are those that break state or local laws. Most crimes are considered state crimes and are tried in state courts. When an individual commits a crime in the state of Florida, it is prosecuted by a state or district attorney. Crimes that are prosecuted in state courts include murder, rape, assault, theft, and robbery, as well as those listed below:

  • Domestic violence
  • Drug trafficking
  • Assault and battery
  • Grand theft
  • Arson
  • Kidnapping
  • Sexual battery
  • Stalking
  • Weapons offenses
  • If a crime crosses state lines, it falls under federal jurisdiction. In some instances, state and federal courts share certain jurisdictions.

Whether you are facing a state or federal charge, you need aggressive legal representation. Many criminal defense lawyers handle state crimes, but not all of them handle federal cases, which is why it’s critical that you contact a reputable federal criminal defense attorney in Tampa.

For a free consultation with an experienced federal criminal defense lawyer in Tampa, please contact The Rickman Law Firm today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.