Federal Crimes

What Is Federal Crimes Law?

While it is always important to consult with a criminal defense lawyer if you are being charged with a crime, it is paramount in cases involving federal crimes. These crimes may be even more serious and may result in longer sentences if you are convicted. It is important that you understand the process involved in federal criminal investigations and prosecutions, the types of crimes that may be charged as a criminal offense, the potential penalties and the key distinctions between federal crimes and state crimes.

Basics of Federal Crimes

Federal crimes can be charged in federal court when a defendant’s activities violate a federal criminal law, a crime that is committed across state lines or a crime that is committed in international waters over which the United States has jurisdiction. These crimes may also occur on federal property such as a post office, federal government building or airport.

Federal criminal laws are defined by the federal criminal code. These crimes are prohibited under federal statutes. There are also federal laws regarding the potential criminal sentence that a defendant can receive if convicted of a crime of this nature.

Types of Federal Crimes

There are many federal crimes. Just a few of them include:

Drug Crimes
Drug crimes may involve misdemeanor drug possession charges all the way to more serious offenses such as drug manufacturing, trafficking or distribution which are felonies.

RICO Violations
Racketeering and other RICO violations may be charged as federal offenses. Organized groups that conduct illegal business dealings may engage in additional offenses, including money laundering, embezzlement, fraud, bribery or extortion. These charges are prosecuted pursuant to the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. Conspiracies
Conspiracy charges involve two or more individuals who are suspected of engaging in serious crimes, such as drug trafficking, fraud, embezzlement or other federal crimes. A person who faces charges for a conspiracy may be at risk for additional charges if he or she committed a crime, additional penalties for the actions of other co-conspirators or greater criminal penalties.

Bank, Securities and Other Forms of Fraud
Some offenses involve the use of banks or other financial institutions. Bank or securities fraud charges may arise when an individual submits false documents to obtain a loan or achieve other financial gain. These charges can also arise if the defendant engages in unlawful securities schemes that harm financial firms, investors or the markets. Bankruptcy fraud, mail fraud or wire fraud or other types of fraud charges may apply.

Credit Card Fraud
Credit card fraud can be charged if a credit card or similar format is used to make purchases, withdraw funds or obtain financial gain while intending to avoid payment.

Internet Crimes
Internet crimes may involve a host of various illegal activities that utilize computers, networks or other internet technology. Such crimes may include:

  • Identity theft
  • Online predators
  • Piracy
  • Counterintelligence
  • Election fraud
  • Hacking
  • Phishing scams
  • Online solicitation
  • Child pornography

Violent Crimes
Federal crimes may involve violent crimes, such as robbery, homicide or hate crimes. They may also include firearm and weapons charges involving the possession, use, distribution or sale of firearms.

Immigration Crimes
Other federal crimes involve immigration offenses, including illegal entry, harboring illegal aliens, human trafficking, re-entry after removal from the United States, immigration fraud or marriage fraud.

Property Crimes
Some property crimes may also be charged as a federal offense, such as arson, bank robbery or certain types of burglary. Major theft of valuable items like jewelry, art and gems may be charged as a federal offense. Counterfeiting and forgery charges may also be brought as federal offenses. Illegally downloading content on the internet can also be a federal offense. Tax evasion and other offenses that violate the federal tax code can be prosecuted as a federal offense.

Kidnapping may also be charged as a federal offense, especially when a person crosses state lines in its commission.

Public Corruption
Public corruption can include a variety of offenses that cause the public to lose trust in their government or elected officials. Corruption can occur at the local, state or federal level. It may involve the judicial system, public safety or politics. A variety of acts can constitute public corruption, including fraud, embezzlement, blackmail, extortion, money laundering or bribery.