What Makes a Florida Crime a Federal Offense?
In many criminal cases, when you are arrested and charged with a crime, your case is heard in a Florida state court. What this means is the law that you are accused of breaking is one that is listed under Florida’s statutes and regulations. Every state has its own laws, many of which may be similar but still have distinct differences. For example, many states have their own versions of first-time offender programs. When you are arrested for a federal offense, this is a law that applies no matter which U.S. state you are in.
If you or someone you love has been charged with a federal offense in Florida, it’s time to call an experienced Florida federal crime attorney for assistance.
What is a Federal Crime?
The most straightforward answer is that a federal crime is anything that is punished under the Federal Criminal Code. The U.S. Constitution has to provide some authority to support a federal charge. These cases are investigated by various governmental agencies and prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s office.
There are certain crimes that the federal government always has jurisdiction over, and then there are some scenarios that make the crime fall within multiple jurisdictions. In those cases where there is a question of which state’s laws apply, the case will become a federal matter.
What Crimes Fall Under Federal Jurisdiction?
Any crime that involves federal employees or takes place on federal land will be a federal case. Any crime where the defendant crosses state lines will become a federal case. The remainder of federal offenses can mostly be found in the United States Code under Title 18. Some examples of federal offenses include:
- Drug trafficking
- Organized crime
- Bank robbery
- White collar crimes
- Identity theft
- Insider trading
- ATM and credit card fraud
- Computer crimes
- Wire fraud
- Mail fraud
- Healthcare fraud
- Money laundering
- Terrorist activities
Committing a crime against the government is a serious matter. Many cases involve non-violent offenses like identity theft or computer hacking. However, some of these offenses can be much more severe if the hacking or activity leads to, or encourages, terrorist behavior.
The reason that crimes crossing state lines are handled on a federal level is the fact that they affect multiple states. These crimes might disrupt commerce or involve serious offenses like kidnapping, sex trafficking, or child abduction.
Some people assume that any case handled under federal laws will result in harsher penalties and lengthier incarceration. That is not necessarily true. The severity of the sentence is determined by whether the case is classified as a misdemeanor or a felony, not whether it falls under state or federal jurisdiction.
Crimes that Are Elevated from State Level Offenses
When there are intentional actions that significantly harm others, a case can be elevated to a federal offense. This is typically the case when the crime is committed against a federal employee or official. For example, an attempted murder charge involving a federal agency official would likely be bumped up to a federal crime.
Contact a Florida Federal Crimes Attorney
If you have been arrested for a federal crime, don’t handle it on your own, contact a Fort Lauderdale federal crimes attorney at the office of Bruce L. Udolf, P.A. today to schedule an initial consultation. Let us help prepare the best defense possible in your case. We have years of experience defending clients in federal court and will work tirelessly to get the charges reduced or dismissed.