In the US, a federal criminal charge is brought against an entity or a person to which the government believes committed a crime, regarded as a federal offense or federal crime. The majority of crimes in the US are dealt with by the local authorities, however, charged at the state level. Hence the violation of federal law is prosecuted and audited by the federal government.
The government takes federal crimes seriously because the potential punishment of federal crime includes fines, imprisonment, and restitution. One can also carry federal criminal charges when the execution of criminal activities has been performed in multiple states. These charges may include commercial fraud, drug trafficking, and wire fraud.
How can one differentiate Federal Court from State Court?
In the introduction, we have already discussed the constitution of a federal crime and even touched on the consequences of a guilty verdict, but how do the procedures of a federal court be different from a state court? Primarily, the main difference lies in the fact that state court deals with state laws. Whereas, the federal court mainly governs the national laws. In this essence, federal courts are empowered by the US Constitution and state courts are empowered by their state constitutions.
Most of the federal crimes like kidnapping and human trafficking are listed under title 18 of the US federal code but many others are titled under other lists as well. For instance, tax evasion is a federal crime under Title 16 of the US code. The Federal Bureau of Investigation inspects federal crimes and has the power to charge the person or suspect who illegally commits the federal crimes.
State legislators craft laws to prosecute criminal offenses and to prohibit criminal behaviors at state levels. For the federal level, congress penalizes and defines acts that prosecute and constitute federal crimes.
Many criminal acts are defined to constitute under federal law like mail fraud, federal property crimes, and interstate trafficking, but many crimes are subjected to be prosecuted under federal and state laws both such as robbery, kidnapping, and many criminal acts. Both federal and state courts can hear the cases that are titled under federal and state criminal laws.
Primary federal offenses categories
If you face a criminal charge, it can be done on the state or the federal level or even both at times– that means one offense can charge you for the state and federal criminal charges. For this, it is important to know what differs the federal criminal charges from state charges and the classification of federal offenses.
US Sentencing commission listed primary offenses categories for federal crimes, they include:
Drug crimes: The drug category includes drug distribution or drug trafficking specifically across multiple state lines. The crime consists of drug import-export, drug manufacture, drug distribution to an individual under 21y/o or near the school.
Violent crimes: The violent federal crime classification consists of first and second-degree murder, executing a felony crime, and conspiracy to murder resulting in death. It also includes involuntary and voluntary manslaughter, sexual assault, minor abuse, robbery charges, and various assault charges.
White-collar crimes: Includes fraud deceit, insider trading, embezzlement, extortion, and money laundering, forgery, bribery, violation of odometer laws, and tax offenses.
Child Pornography: It can be a serious legal offense if someone bought or sell child pornography.
Firearm crimes: This federal crime category is comprised of transportation and illegal possession of ammunition firearm arms, usage of ammunition and firearms while committing a crime, using explosive material to commit a crime, keeping a firearm or explosive in a school or federal facility.
Property crimes: It includes auto theft, arson, larceny, burglary, and other property crimes.
Lottery/Gambling: In this category of federal offense include gambling business, transmitting wagering details, and transportation of paraphernalia interstate.
Kidnapping: It includes ransom and taking of hostages.
Are state and federal convictions and penalties different?
Federal and state penalties for crimes are quite different. Federal cases, for example, pornography or property crime while heard by a federal judge will use Federal Sentencing guidelines to conclude the cases and determine the punishment or penalty for these serious offenses. And then again, these are only guidelines, depending on the offense and the consequences of the federal crime, every judge can hand down different sentences for the same criminal offense.
Federal felony and misdemeanor
Lesser federal crimes with much fewer consequences are referred to as misdemeanors, whereas, serious federal crimes are often considered felonies. Federal crimes that are considered felonies are categorized into 5 categories i.e. A, B, C, D, & E. Class A felony is the harshest of all with the maximum of jail time along with a fine of $250,000. While class E felony includes one year prison time and a penalty less than $5,000.
On the flip side, federal misdemeanor crimes are divided into 3 categories i.e. A, B & C. With A being one of the raucous involves one year of prison time and mix $100,000 fines. Class C federal misdemeanor comprised of 30 days and less with a max penalty of $5,000.
Federal and State Procedure
Federal and State criminal prosecution are different from each other in many aspects. The federal judges are appointed by the president of the country for life, while a state court judge sits until re-election even they are also elected by the state governors.
Federal crimes are inspected by federal officers like DEA, FBI, or ICE officers and prosecuted by US Attorney Assistant.
State crimes are investigated by state officers, local police officers, and state agents and prosecuted through city attorneys and state district attorneys.
As a general fact, there is less federal prosecution, therefore, cases that are subjected to prosecution in federal courts may take longer than usual to resolve.
Federal crimes list
The following extensive list of federal crimes is compiled from titles 26 and 18 of the US code among others. However, other titles are having federal crimes listed under.
- Advocating Overthrow of Government
- Abusive sexual conduct
- Aggravated Battery
- Aggravated Assault
- Abusive sexual contact
- Aggravated sexual abuse
- Airplane Hijacking
- Pointing with laser at an aircraft
- Armed Robbery
- Killing federal officer
- Instigating escape
- Attempt to commit Manslaughter/Murder
- Bankruptcy Embezzlement
- Bank Burglary
- Bank Robbery
- Bank Larceny
- Bond Default
- Bombing Matters
- Bribery Crimes
- Breaking in or Entering Facilities
- Child Abuse
- Certification of checks
- Child Exploitation
- Child Abuse
- Computer Crime
- Commodities price fixing
- Concealing person from arrest
- Concealing Escaped Prisoner
- Conspiracy (under FBI jurisdiction)
- Contempt of court
- Conveying false information
- Continuing criminal enterprises
- Copyright matters
- Counterintelligence crimes
- Crime Abroad Aircraft
- Criminal Forfeiture
- Criminal infringements
- Damage to property
- Demands Against the US government
- Delivery to Consignee
- Destruction to prevent seizure
- Destruction of Audit Records
- Detention of Ammunitions and Armed vessels
- Domestic Security
- Drug Smuggling
- Drug Abuse violation
- Drug Trafficking
- DUI Federal Property
- Economic Espionage
- Election Law Crimes
- Entering train violently
- Serve against the US
- Environmental Scheme Crimes
- Exportation of drugs
- False Bails
- False Pretenses
- Falsely claiming citizenship
- False record entries
- Female Genital Mutilation
- First Degree Murder
- Fight against giving testimony
- Forcible Rape
- Forced Labor
- Fraud in Electronic mail
- Hacking Crimes
- Identity theft
- Immigration offenses
- Illegal Possession of ammunition
- Importation of drugs
- Influencing Juror for any means
- Insurance Fraud
- International parenting Kidnapping
- International terrorism
- Medical care fraud
- Misuse of Visa
- Money Laundering
- Motor Vehicle Theft
- Murder in Federal Facility
- Narcotics Violation
- Obstruction of Justice
- Failing to make a report
- Partial-Birth abortion
- Possession of false papers
- Possession of Narcotics
- Product tempering
- Public corruption Crimes
- Ransom Money
- Radiology dispersal devices
- Rescue of the Seized
- Retaliation against the federal prosecution
- Retaliating against an informant
- Second-degree murder
- Search without warrant
- Sexual Abuse
- Sexual Assault
- Sexual Minor Conduct
- Sexual Battery
- Sex trafficking
- Sexual exploitation
- Stole property – purchase, sell, possess, receive
- Transmission of information
- Transportation of terrorist
- Transportation of stolen objects or vehicles
- Use of explosions
- Use of weapons
- Unauthorized use of official documents
- Violation of atomic weapon
- Wire fraud
- Wilful wrecking
Obtaining legal assistance
If you are convicted with state or federal charges and brought under investigation for the purpose, then the first thing you should do is to consult a federal criminal lawyer. It is essential to consult an experienced federal criminal lawyer when you are facing federal criminal charges. As the rules for federal cases in the federal court are way more difficult and different from state court. Whenever there’s a criminal charge against yourself, you must need a federal criminal lawyer who deals with these kinds of cases every day in the federal court and knows how these cases work. He might tell you flaws and legalities that you need to make your case stronger and a clause that helps you in getting positive possible outcomes at the end of your case.
Hiring a federal criminal lawyer
To hire a federal criminal lawyer you need to shortlist a handful of lawyers that meet your needs. Search online or ask for recommendations from your family or friends to get the best federal criminal lawyer.
Once you narrowed down few federal criminal lawyers, schedule a consultation and have face-to-face meetings with everyone to get the best out of your search.
Learn about the charges
After putting a lot of time in searching and interviewing federal criminal lawyers, you need to sum up the hunt by knowing about the case charges from your selected candidate. Once you are done with all the hassle, it is important to discuss everything in advance to shun any possibility of negative outcomes of the case.
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