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What Crimes Are Considered Federal Offenses

What Crimes Are Considered Federal Offenses

If you’ve been charged with a crime, it’s important to know if you were charged with a state or federal offense before you choose your representation or make any other decisions. While criminal defense strategies may all seem the same to the average citizen, having a legal expert on your side with extensive knowledge in federal offenses is a clear advantage if this was indeed the crime you were charged with.

In the simplest of terms, a federal offense is a crime that is defined as illegal by the United States federal legislation. This differs from a state crime by the way it is prosecuted. In addition, there are certain government agencies that are more likely to be involved in the investigation of a federal crime over a state crime. This article discusses different examples of federal offenses and why they’re different from other crimes.

Examples of Federal Offenses

In the United States, the criminal justice system mainly revolves around state and county courts. However, when states lack jurisdiction, the crime is specifically defined by the federal courts, or a crime was committed on federal property, it’s handled by the federal government. A crime that normally falls under a state’s jurisdiction will turn over to the federal courts if it is committed multiple times over state lines. These are basic guidelines that will determine how an offense is commonly handled. However, there are certain offenses that fall exclusively under the umbrella of the federal government. Here is a short list of examples of federal offenses.

Tax Evasion

A tax crime will be labeled as a federal offense when an individual does not pay their taxes or falsifies tax documents with the intention to avoid paying their taxes. This type of crime can be committed by individuals, corporations, or trusts.


Cybercrime is handled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Basically, any crime committed via a computer is labeled as a cybercrime. It’s considered a federal offense when a cyber attack is committed either domestically or by an overseas adversary. Identity theft, hacking, and piracy are all examples of cyber crimes.

Drug Trafficking

Any kind of activity involving the growing, manufacturing, selling, or distribution of drugs is considered a federal offense. If any kind of drug trade happens internationally or across state lines, it will be considered a federal offense and handled in a federal court.

Immigration Crimes

Most crimes that involve falsifying documents in order to obtain legal immigration status is considered a federal crime. An example would be a fraudulent marriage that takes place in order to obtain a green card. These and other acts are high on the list of immigration federal offenses.


Most people think of fake currency when they think of counterfeiting. However, you can be charged with counterfeiting by replicating anything that’s considered valuable. For instance, creating fake diamonds, paintings, expensive wine bottles, or antiques can be considered a federal offense.

Violent Crimes Against Children

Anything that involves the abuse of a child is taken very seriously by the United States federal government. Criminal acts like child pornography, kidnapping across state lines, or assault on a child will result in a federal criminal charge and be handled in federal courts.

White-Collar Crimes

White-collar crimes are normally nonviolent and involve large sums of money. These types of crimes always fall under the category of federal offenses. Examples of white-collar crimes include Ponzi schemes, racketeering, embezzlement, insider trading, and money laundering.

Civil Rights Violations

If an individual is threatened by force or assaulted by the use of force with an underlying motive of race or sexual orientation, it will be considered a civil rights violation. These also may be referred to as hate crimes. These will always be labeled as federal offenses and require a federal crimes attorney for representation.

Agencies Who Investigate Federal Offenses

It’s easy to determine if you’re charged with a state or federal crime by the agency that’s been investigating you. There are particular government agencies that are generally involved in federal offenses and criminal cases. These include the following:

-Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)

-Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA)

-Secret Service

-Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (ATF)

-Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)

-Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

What to Do If You’ve Been Charged with a Federal Offense

If you’ve been charged with a federal offense, it’s important to contact an experienced federal criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Most people that are accused of federal offenses will not go to trial due to pleading guilty and/or negotiating plea bargains. It is never recommended to go through this process alone. You must have a trusted criminal defense attorney to represent you and find you the best possible deal. Contact a federal criminal defense attorney today to learn more about your options.