Crimes Across State Lines
If a crime was committed in two or more states — for instance, mail and wire fraud — the federal government has the jurisdiction to prosecute such offenses, even though they fall under state authority. The federal government would derive jurisdiction by the fact that:
- The crime crossed state lines
- The Constitution allows it to regulate interstate commerce
Crimes on Federal Property
Additionally, there are federal statutes that apply to crimes committed on property owned by the federal government or administered by the federal authority. Such areas include U.S. National Parks, the District of Columbia, federal prisons, federal courthouses, and Indian reservations. The federal government also possesses authority over ocean-going vessels at sea and airplanes in flight and may prosecute offenses committed at any of these locations.
Examples of federal crimes include:
- Drug crimes
- RICO violations
- Internet crimes, such as identity theft, piracy, online predators, election fraud, child pornography, and hacking
- Credit card fraud
- Bank, securities, and other forms of fraud
- Violent crimes involving firearms and weapon
- Tax evasion
- Public corruption
Overlap of Federal and
State Laws - Concurrent Jurisdiction
When there is a conflict between federal and state laws, federal law will be used to govern the state law. However, a mere overlap of federal and state statutes isn’t enough to strike down state laws. This is where concurrent jurisdiction comes in.
Concurrent jurisdiction exists where two or more courts from different systems have jurisdiction over a particular criminal case simultaneously. The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits any person from being “subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb.” In other words, if the government fails to convict a person of an offense, it cannot prosecute the person again for the same offense. This is often referred to as “double jeopardy.”
However, under concurrent jurisdiction, state and federal statutes are considered different “offenses,” meaning that if a person is acquitted of a federal charge, state prosecutors could still bring charges.
The Federal Crime Process
Several differences exist between how federal and state crimes are investigated and prosecuted. Some of the major distinctions include:
- Federal crimes usually involved federal agencies, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Agency, and Immigration authorities.
- Investigators in federal cases build their case and have substantial evidence before the arrest.
- Federal cases are assigned to an Assistant United States Attorney.
- In the discovery system, the federal prosecutor can withhold information and witness statements.
- Federal judges are appointed by the President of the United States and confirmed by the United States Senate. They serve for life.
- Federal judges often impose additional conditions of release for bail.
Federal Crime Attorneys in Savannah, Georgia
Federal crimes are serious offenses with severe punishment. When facing federal crimes charges, defending yourself of these charges may increase your risks of suffering the maximum penalties. Retaining a knowledgeable Georgia criminal defense attorney immediately is crucial to help defend your rights and determine the best defense for your unique situation.
At the Law Offices of Harold J. Cronk, PC, our attorneys have dedicated their careers to providing strong representation in federal crimes matters. As your legal counsel, we review your case, conduct a thorough, private investigation, and strategize an effective defense to establish a strong case. We will fight aggressively to defend your rights and help you navigate the federal criminal justice system. Having our team on your side can increase your chances of a favorable outcome in your federal crimes case.