What Makes a Sex Crime a Federal Charge?

Typically, sex crimes are charged and prosecuted at the state level. However, there are certain sex crimes that rise to the level of being federal charges. Federal sex crimes cover a wide range of circumstances, and often involve minors or federally owned and protected locations.  

In this brief article, sex crimes defense attorneys in Tampa with The Rickman Law Firm have shared the major differences between federal and state sex crimes, and what makes a sex crime rise to the level of federal charges. 

What Is a Federal Sex Crime?

Federal sex crimes are some of the most serious offenses in state or federal courts in the United States, and as such the punishments for these offenses are severe. These crimes often include similar charges that you face on the state level, and you may be charged with both state and federal charges for the same incident. For example, if you are charged with sexual battery against a minor, you may face the same charge in Florida courts as well as federal courts. 

Examples of Federal Sex Crimes

Federal sex crimes carry steep penalties including extensive jail time. As we mentioned before, these are the most serious charges a person can face. A few common examples of federal sex crimes include:

  • Human Trafficking: Human trafficking occurs any time a person is trafficked by another person for either servitude or sexual reasons. Although this crime often involves several levels of people and involvement, 18 U.S.C. 1584 outlines penalties for up to 20 years in prison for a defendant who is convicted of holding someone or selling them in involuntary servitude. If serious bodily injury or death occurs, or the crime involved kidnapping or sexual abuse, the defendant could be sentenced to life in a federal prison.
  • Sexual Assault of a Minor or Sexual Battery of a Minor: This charge is sometimes called aggravated sexual abuse. Except in limited circumstances, federal laws typically do not apply to child sexual abuse matters that takes place wholly inside a single state and are typically handled by the state. However, if the sexual abuse of a child occurred on federal lands, the offense may be prosecuted under federal law. Federal lands include areas such as military bases, Indian territories, and other government-owned lands or properties.
  • Possession of Child Pornography: As defined by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, child pornography is “any image depicting a minor engaged in sexual conduct,” including photographs, videos, and computer files, among other forms of content involving a person under the age of 18 engaged in any form of sexual conduct. This is a federal and state crime. You may come into contact with these materials through no fault of your own, but you may still stand accused and charged regardless of intent. 

Find a Federal Defense Attorney for Sex Crimes

If you’re facing federal sex crime charges, you’ll need a federal defense attorney in Tampa from The Rickman Law Firm. These charges can negatively impact your life for years to come, and defending yourself aggressively is crucial. 

For a free consultation, 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.


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