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Differences between state and federal crimes

On Behalf of | Oct 28, 2022 | Federal Crimes, State Crimes

Criminal charges of any kind are life-changing for any Texas resident. Depending on certain factors, you could face state or federal charges. There are a few differences between the two.

Understanding state crimes

Being criminally charged at the state level is usually more serious. Crimes like burglary, robbery, theft, rape and murder typically result in charges imposed by the state. Certain offenses are penalized more harshly than others depending on the state. For example, in Texas, a person could receive the death penalty if they are convicted of first-degree murder. Other states might hand down a sentence of life in prison.

Understanding federal crimes

Federal crimes are those that involve any type of fraud, immigration violations, crimes committed across state lines and those against federal officers or on federal land. Mail fraud, assault against an FBI agent, child pornography and human trafficking are all examples of each of these types of crimes.

Differences between federal and state crimes

Compared to state crimes, there are fewer classes of federal crimes due to federal lawmakers being limited to passing laws that affect the nation as a whole. State crimes include a much wider range of offenses. Penalties are also different for a conviction. In federal crimes, federal agents are responsible for investigating the crime. The United States is also considered a party in cases involving this category of crimes.

When crimes are investigated at the state level, local police, sheriffs and local agents are responsible for handling things. Prosecution in these cases is done by city or state attorneys while a person facing state charges goes before a local or state judge in state court.

Individuals convicted of federal crimes get sent to federal prison. If a person is convicted of a crime at the state level, they are sent to a local or state jail or prison. The length of the term depends on the specific offense, its severity, and, in some cases, the defendant’s past criminal history.

Both federal and state criminal charges could adversely affect your life. A strong defense is important in either scenario.