A defendant that’s been charged with a criminal crime may eventually learn that their crime has been classified as a federal offense. If a defendant violated federal laws, they have committed a federal crime. They need to be tried in federal courts rather than state courts. In most cases, a federal crime is an offense involving an activity that is regulated by federal law. For example, mail tampering and tax evasion are considered to be federal crimes. When an individual has violated federal law, they must be prosecuted according to federal guidelines. State and federal crimes have several distinct differences.
There are many factors that separate state crimes from federal ones, and jurisdiction is one of them. When you’re considering jurisdiction, one of the primary things you’ll want to look at is whether a crime occurred on state property of federal property. If someone vandalized the recreation center in their town, the crime would have taken place on state property. If they vandalized a national park, the crime would have been committed on federal property, which means that the federal government has jurisdiction over the crime.
Federal crimes are typically investigated by a U.S. government agency, like the NSA, DEA, or FBI. In most cases, agencies work alongside local law enforcement. For example, state law enforcement officers may assist government agencies when they are making arrests.
Hearings for federal crimes will take place in a U.S. District Courthouse. A U.S. district attorney will prosecute federal crimes. The prosecutor has the burden of proof. They must provide evidence that proves guilt beyond a reasonable doubt when the case goes to court.
Double Jeopardy laws state that a person cannot be charged for the same crime twice. However, it’s possible to be found guilty of a crime at both a state and federal level. Many defendants are taken aback by this. If an individual robs a bank, it’s likely that the bank is insured through the FDIC. The crime is committed, and the culprit is apprehended. When the defendant is speaking with lawyers, they may learn that they are being charged with both state and federal crimes, which can be a huge shock.
States are considered to be sovereign entities within the U.S., which is another sovereign entity. If someone has violated state laws and robbed a bank, they will face state charges. Because the culprit has robbed a bank that is federally insured and regulated, they will face federal charges for the crime as well. The defendant is not being charged twice for the same crime. Instead, they are being charged for violating state laws and being charged for violating federal laws.
In the majority of cases, the state sentence will be added to the federal sentence is a guilty verdict is found in both of the cases. This can lead to a much longer sentence for a crime. Some states have minimum sentences for a crime. A federal sentence will not change the minimum sentence for a state crime.
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