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It is easy to think only about significant or sensational crimes when thinking about federal crimes, as they often get the most airtime. You may see a news story about a medical device CEO defrauding board members and investors or a celebrity lying to law enforcement; the list goes on and on. These crimes occur regularly, but the most common offenders are the average everyday citizen, not the rich or famous, as the news would suggest. Federal crimes may seem more severe or official because the federal court system handles them; however, they still are much like the charges you could face at the state level if convicted. Because the state and federal levels are two different systems, there may be variances in how those crimes are identified, the elements to prove that the crime has taken place, and the penalties if convicted.
If you are charged with a crime in California, it can be challenging for you to know where to begin when defending your case. The criminal justice system is complex, with various rules, procedures, and hearings. Typically, the prosecution is focused only on obtaining a conviction on the charges against you. The State’s attorney may use tactics to achieve that conviction at the expense of your rights and interests. When you are in a situation where you are defending against a criminal charge, it is vital that you have someone who understands the law, procedures, and tactics on your side.
An experienced criminal defense attorney will know the criminal justice system and the tactics used by opposing counsel to help you better defend against the charges and protect your rights. My Rights Law’s criminal defense lawyers have the experience you need for your federal defense charge and are ready to represent you. To learn more or schedule your free initial case consultation, call us at (888) 702-8882 or leave a message on our secure form and our federal defense lawyer will get back to you shortly.
What is A Federal Crime?
A federal crime is considered the most serious and heaviest form of a criminal offense against the U.S. national interest. Crimes are or can become a federal offense if:
- The crime is listed in the constitution as a federal offense.
- The matter concerns national issues. These crimes often involve national security or international relations, like a terrorist attack or threats on U.S. diplomats to a foreign country.
- The crime involves more than one state. The federal government may control activities between one or more states, including crimes. Depending on the kind and severity of the crime, if it takes place within the borders of one state entirely, it is more likely that state law will apply. However, federal law will likely apply if the crime is one that federal law generally covers or takes place in more than one state—such as drug trafficking from one state to another.
- It occurs on or involves federal property.
- It involves federal officials, members, or employees. Federal law applies to crimes committed by government employees, politicians, federal attorneys, and other federal personnel.
Federal Crimes Versus State Crimes
As discussed above, federal crimes are those kinds of crimes that the federal government prosecutes. In many cases, there are laws at both the state and federal levels concerning a specific type of crime. The difference between state and federal crimes involves the separation of state governments and the federal government, known as sovereignty.
Sovereignty means that each of these governments has individual powers, one of which is to charge and convict for crimes. Often, these charges are handled similarly at both levels. However, there can be differences in the elements to be proven to support a charge or the penalties you might face if convicted. In some circumstances, you can be charged with a crime at the state level, be found either innocent or guilty, yet you might be charged again for that same crime at the federal level.
The procedure for an arrest at the federal versus the state level will vary. If you are charged with a federal crime in federal court, you will be arrested by a federal agent, such as an Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms (ATF) agent or federal bureau of investigation agent (FBI agent) and charged by a federal prosecutor who works for the United States Attorney’s Office. You will be prosecuted in a federal District Court by a federal prosecutor, also known as a United States Attorney. If convicted on the federal level, you may face more severe penalties than you would at the state level. If the conviction includes a prison sentence, you will serve your sentence in federal prison.
You will likely be arrested by a state, county, or city official for a state-level violation, usually a police officer. You will be prosecuted in the state courts and, if convicted, will be subject to state penalties and spend time in county jail or state prison if the penalty involves a sentence. Penalties for state-level offenses tend to be lighter than for federal offenses.
Common Federal Crimes
1. Child Sex Crimes
Child sex crimes are generally considered more serious crimes because they involve children. Because these crimes are severe and the government wants to prevent future violations and deter others from committing these crimes, the convictions are punished harshly. The most common type of child sex crime involves child pornography possession or distribution.
2. Drug Crimes
Drug crimes, such as drug trafficking, are federally charged because the effects of the trafficked drug when used, depending on the kind of drug involved, can be severe. The federal government has a list of drugs categorized by severity or schedules to determine whether prosecution is required and what charges to bring. Depending on the type of drug, the penalties may be more or less severe. For example, if you are charged with trafficking cocaine, you can face steep fines and lengthy prison sentences.
3. White Collar Crimes
White-collar crimes involve those “respected” positions like public officials or company executives. White-collar crime covers a broad area involving tax evasion, money laundering, bank fraud, and more.
4. Immigration Crimes
Immigration crimes involve more than just illegal immigration. Immigration crimes may include criminal activity from gangs, transportation of unauthorized aliens, production of false immigration documents like passports, or situations where you have initially entered the country legally on a visa, for example, but have stayed past its expiration.
5. Fraud Crimes
Fraud crimes involve deception for unlawful gain. Fraud is broadly applied and can involve different legal areas. Common federal fraud crimes include Social Security fraud, insurance fraud, investment fraud, mail fraud, and more.
My Rights Law – Experienced Federal Defense Lawyers
If you have been charged with violating federal laws, you should speak with a federal defense attorney. They can help you fight every type of federal charge that prosecutors can bring against you. My Rights Law has years of experience handling federal criminal cases. We’re not intimidated by the United States Attorney’s Office. We know how to handle a federal case to help ensure that clients get the best resolution possible given the circumstances. Our attorneys conduct a thorough criminal investigation into your alleged criminal offenses to craft only the best defense. Don’t wait when your liberty is at stake! Get in touch with a federal defense attorney from our team today.
Call My Rights Law Today
The defense attorney you choose can make the difference between having criminal charges dismissed or being severely punished. My Rights Law’s seasoned team of criminal lawyers have the resources and experience that enable us to pursue difficult cases yielding favorable results. We protect our clients through our expertise in the law and extensive experience in handling all misdemeanor and felony criminal cases including, but not limited to, alcohol-related crimes, drug crimes, violent crimes, domestic violence, sex crimes, crimes against children, theft crimes, juvenile crime, gun charges, property crimes, cybercrimes, traffic violations, public safety crimes, federal crimes, financial crimes, crimes against the government, crimes against justice, and inchoate crimes. We also specialize in restraining orders, pretrial diversion programs, and expungements.
If you or someone you know has been charged with a federal offense, it is crucial that you act quickly to protect your rights and interests. Because the stakes involved with these charges are so high, you must have an experienced attorney representing you. Experienced criminal defense attorneys understand the process and the prosecution’s tactics to help you put on the best defense. My Rights Law’s criminal defense attorneys have extensive federal criminal defense experience and are ready to represent you. To learn more or schedule your free initial case consultation, call us at (888) 702-8882 or visit leave a message on our secure web form today.
 18 U.S.C. Section 2252
 21 U.S.C. Section 841(a)(1)
26 U.S.C. Section 7201
 8 U.S.C. Section 1324(a)
 42 U.S.C. Section 408(a)(1)-(8)
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