How Do Federal Crimes Differ from State Crimes?
If you are being prosecuted for a federal offense, you have entered an area of the law that differs substantially from state crimes. The rules of procedure, the rules of evidence, and the elements of the crimes themselves are all unique to the federal courts.
Any federal crime is a serious offense, and working with federal law enforcement can be complicated. Any crime that involves activity across state lines can be prosecuted as a federal offense, and a simple understanding of Arizona state law will not be enough to combat the charges. You need the services of a Phoenix criminal lawyer who understands the complexities of federal law. At the Law Offices of David A. Black, we are here to help.
You will no doubt have many questions about the charges you are facing. One of the first of these is why your case is in federal court.
Which Cases End Up in Federal Court?
There are many offenses that are rarely prosecuted in federal court. Simple theft, for example, is almost always a matter for state court. On the other hand, even minor offenses, if committed on an Indian reservation, may be prosecuted in federal court.
Some other crimes are always prosecuted in federal court. These include certain federal securities laws violations. On the other hand, many crimes can be prosecuted under state law or federal law. For example, bank robbery is a federal offense. It is also a crime under state law. While most bank robbery cases are heard on the federal level, some are prosecuted in state court, under state law.
Although violent crimes and drugs cases are often prosecuted in state court, in some instances they will be heard in federal court. Examples include kidnapping cases, drug smuggling cases, and others. But the majority of criminal cases in federal court involve white collar crimes, such as:
- Tax evasion.
- Securities fraud cases.
- Witness tampering and obstruction of justice.
- Counterfeiting and other crimes related to currency law.
- Identity theft.
- Money laundering.
- Wire fraud and mail fraud.
- Fraud, theft and other crimes involving banks and other financial institutions.
- Fraud, theft and other crimes involving federal programs such as Medicaid and Medicare.
These are just some of the many crimes that may be prosecuted under federal law. One of the other differences between state and federal law concerns sentencing.
Sentencing under Federal Law
In many criminal cases handled on the state level, a sentence of, say, five years, will translate into a much shorter period behind bars. Not so in the federal system. The fact is that under federal law, sentences tend to be longer than for similar offenses under state law, and if you are sentenced to a particular term in prison, you will, in most cases, serve most or all of that sentence. All the more reason to find an experienced attorney for a federal criminal case.
Phoenix Federal Crimes Defense Lawyer
The sentencing structure, the nature of federal crimes, and the differences in procedure and in the rules of evidence, make it imperative that you have an attorney by your side who is knowledgeable in the intricacies of federal criminal practice. And the earlier you retain the services of your lawyer, the better. This is so even when you learn that you are merely the subject of an investigation. In some cases, early intervention can head off what might otherwise become a serious federal criminal charge.
Mr. Black has extensive experience in criminal defense, and he can assist throughout the investigation and any subsequent prosecution. Call the Law Offices of David A. Black today at (480) 280-8028 to schedule a free consultation.