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Understanding the Details That Make a Crime a Federal Offense

Posted by Posted on in Federal Crimes

chicago federal criminal offenseOne of the most common questions we get asked at our criminal defense law firm is "What makes a crime a federal offense?" It is a good question, and one that deserves a thorough answer. In short, there are three primary factors that determine whether or not a crime is considered a federal offense: the subject matter of the crime, the location in which the crime took place, and the laws that were violated. Let's take a closer look at each of these factors.

Subject Matter or Substance of the Alleged Crime

The first factor to consider is the subject matter of the crime. Some crimes, by their very nature, are automatically considered federal offenses. These crimes include but are not limited to drug trafficking, money laundering, and terrorism. Other crimes can become federal offenses if they involve some sort of interstate activity (i.e., activity that takes place between two or more states). Interstate activity can be anything from using the mail to transport illegal drugs across state lines to committing fraud against a bank that has branches in multiple states.

Where the Alleged Crime Was Committed

The second factor to consider is the location of the commission of the alleged crime. Generally speaking, crimes that take place on federal property, such as national parks or military installations, or that cross state lines are going to be considered federal offenses. It is important to understand that federal property can also include federal office buildings, courthouses, and post offices, regardless of where they are located. Additionally, certain crimes that take place on Native American reservations may also be prosecuted as federal offenses.

The Specific Laws That Were Allegedly Violated

The final factor to consider is whether or not any federal laws were violated. This is actually one of the more common ways that people end up being charged with federal offenses. For example, if you are charged with tax evasion, you will almost certainly be facing federal charges because you allegedly violated the Internal Revenue Code, which is a federal law. The same is true for any other type of crime that violates a federal law, such as mail fraud or bank robbery.

Contact a Chicago Federal Criminal Defense Attorney

As you can see, there are a number of different factors that can make a crime a federal offense. If you have been charged with a crime and are unsure whether it is considered a federal offense, speak with an experienced Chicago federal criminal defense lawyer who can help you understand the charges against you and what your legal options are. Call 312-629-0669 for a free consultation at Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel LLC, Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney today.

 

Sources:

https://www.justice.gov/usao/justice-101/faq

https://www.justice.gov/jm/jm-9-27000-principles-federal-prosecution

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