A federal crime in the United States is a crime deemed illegal under federal legislation. Unlike state laws that may vary from one state to another, a federal crime is illegal in all states. Federal crimes are investigated by major federal agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The cases are prosecuted by federal attorneys in front of federal judges. Federal agencies and attorneys have many resources to use in making their case against you. To protect your rights, it is extremely important to have an experienced defense lawyer if you are facing federal charges.
Is it a State or Federal Charge?
Many charges are clearly identified as being federal. A few examples are tax evasion, mail fraud, racketeering and drug trafficking. State charges are crimes like simple assault or petty theft. Despite the straightforward appearance, these jurisdictions can quickly become complicated.
The United States Constitution has a Supremacy Clause. This means individual states govern within their own boundaries until something conflicts with federal law. Once this conflict is identified, the charges become federal. For example, crimes that cross state lines automatically become federal jurisdiction. Other times, a state law and a federal law will overlap. When this happens, the Supremacy Clause takes over and the charges default to federal jurisdiction.
Differences in State and Federal Charges
While state crimes must be taken seriously, federal crimes often face very aggressive prosecution because they are considered more serious than state charges. Penalties for federal crimes, even misdemeanors, are usually based on a stronger set of sentencing guidelines. As the charges escalate, the penalties become harsher. Significant restrictions on freedoms or long prison sentences are attached to federal sentencing.
Seek Legal Representation Immediately
When facing serious federal charges, Atlanta trial attorney Richard A. Grossman is the lawyer you want representing you. With two decades of experience, Mr. Grossman is dedicated to protecting your rights. If you are charged with a federal or state crime, do not wait to seek legal advice. Contact the office of Richard Grossman for a free consultation.