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4 ways criminal charges turn into a federal offense

On Behalf of | Feb 2, 2024 | federal offenses | 0 comments

When individuals think about criminal charges, they often associate them with state law.

However, certain circumstances can lead to criminal charges elevating to federal offenses. Understanding how this transition occurs is important to grasp the severity and implications of such situations.

1. Interstate crimes

One common scenario where criminal charges become federal offenses is when the crime involves activity that crosses state lines. For instance, if someone commits a crime in one state and then transports stolen goods across state borders, it can escalate to a federal offense due to its interstate nature.

2. Federal jurisdiction

Certain crimes fall under federal jurisdiction by default, regardless of where they occur. These crimes include offenses such as counterfeiting money, mail fraud and crimes that occur on federal property. Any criminal activity related to these federal laws automatically becomes a federal offense.

3. Drug trafficking

Drug-related offenses can quickly escalate to federal charges, especially when they involve large quantities of controlled substances or occur across multiple states. Federal agencies often get involved in investigating and prosecuting cases involving drug trafficking.

4. Cybercrimes

With the rise of technology, cyber crimes are more prevalent. Hacking, identity theft and online fraud are examples of criminal activities that can quickly turn into federal offenses. Since the internet transcends state boundaries, these crimes often fall under federal jurisdiction.

While only 290 of 71,954 federal cases went to trial in FY 2022, a person charged with a federal crime has a challenging road ahead. That makes understanding the charges and developing the right defense strategy important.

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