Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer Information: What Makes A Crime Eligible For Being Tried in Federal Court?

A federal crime or federal offense in the United States is a crime that falls under the mandate of the US federal legislation. Prosecution of crime happens at both the state and federal courts. A federal crime is prosecuted under federal court while state crimes are prosecuted under state criminal laws. Most crimes in the US are prosecuted under state laws but federal prosecution often has a harsher sentence which is why an experienced federal criminal defense lawyer is needed.

Federal law enforcement has the responsibility of investigating federal-related crimes. US lawyers prosecute the crime on federal courts under the ruling of federal judges. Many offenses are unique to the federal system but there are state crimes that can be eligible for a federal court trial.

If a crime is committed under US federal property and Indian reservations, it can be tried under local or state law. There are numerous government agencies that were granted the authority to investigate federal violations. These agencies include the Drug Enforcement Administration, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Secret Service, Internal Revenue Service, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Some federal crimes are as follows:

  • Lynching
  • Kidnapping
  • Carjacking
  • Aircraft Hijacking
  • Mail Fraud
  • Child Pornography
  • Bank Robbery
  • Computer Crimes
  • Identity Theft
  • Credit Card Fraud
  • Animal Cruelty
  • Federal Hate Crimes
  • Violation of the RICO act (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations)
  • Obscenity
  • Violation of the Espionage Act
  • Counterfeiting
  • Tax Evasion
  • Illegal Wiretapping
  • Violation of the Patriot Act
  • Electoral fraud
  • Destruction or damage to public mailboxes
  • Museum Art Theft
  • Assassination or Assassination Attempt to the US President or Vice President
  • Immigration offenses

Drug-related federal crimes have a mandatory minimum when the federal law is involved. If the defendant sells, imports, exports, and manufactures illegal drugs beyond national borders or across state boundaries will be eligible for a trial in the federal court. State courts have a more lenient sentence while the federal court mandates a minimum sentence involving drug-related drugs. 

Most of the criminal trials in the US are tried in the county or state courts. However, there are circumstances where the federal court system has the authority and jurisdiction to decide about the matter. The nature of the offense would often determine if a crime is tried in a federal court.

What Makes A Crime Eligible For Federal Authority?

The Case Involves Federal Law

If a lawsuit or the nature of the crime is under federal securities laws, military laws, constitutional laws, intellectual property rights, and offenses listed under the federal crimes will be tried in the federal justice system. If the case surpasses boundaries, the federal court can step in instead of having a state trial.

The Case Is Related To Diversity

A diversity case is about a lawsuit or offense from two states. If the dispute has a value of over $75,000 with the two parties coming from different states, the case can be handled in the federal court. Land grant disputes or disagreements between varying states will be tried under a federal court. State-against-state lawsuits will have the trial in the US Supreme Court.

Lawsuits Against Federal Government 

People who are using a federal government agency or government official will have the trial in a federal court. If a citizen feels like he or she has been wronged by a federal agency, the individual may pursue the matter in the federal justice system.

Cases Involving International Treaties and Diplomats

A matter that involves a treaty, ambassador or the US standing in its relations with another country, the case will be eligible for a trial under federal court. Legal matters that involve diplomats and international law will also be tried under federal law.

Matters Related To Admiral Lawsuit

Legal matters regarding the navigable waters surrounding the US, including bodies of water in the country, have certain legal issues. This type of case is too broad and does not concern one state alone which is why the trials are under federal law.

As previously mentioned, these federal sentences have harsher penalties compared to state offenses. Individuals caught up in federal legal trouble must seek the aid of a reliable federal criminal defense lawyer such as Benari Law to help the defendant navigate the legal system.


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