West palm beach, fl - Se habla espanol

Differences between Federal and State Charges in Florida

There are many things that are illegal: theft, drugs, assault, murder, rape, drinking and driving, domestic violence, fraud. The list goes on and on. If you were to commit or be accused of committing one of these crimes, you could be arrested and criminally charged.If you are accused of violating a Florida law, you will be charged with a state crime and prosecuted by the State of Florida. However, depending on specific details of the accusation, you may be charged with violating federal law as well, which could mean you could be charged with a federal crime and prosecuted by the federal government instead.What exactly is the difference between the two types of charges? Let’s explore that now.

Federal Crimes vs. State Crimes

A federal crime is one which violated a law passed by the United States Congress, and tends to be directed towards criminal activity on more of a national level.Some examples of federal crimes are:

  • Crimes that happen on federal land or involve a federal official;
  • Crimes where the suspect crosses state lines;
  • Crimes where the criminal conduct crosses state lines; and
  • Customs and immigration violations.

With these guidelines, we can determine that certain crimes are automatically federal.

  • If a murder occurs on an Indian reservation, which is federal land, that is a federal crime.
  • If you make a threat on the President of the United States – a federal official – you will be dealing with the federal government.
  • Kidnapping someone and driving across state lines is a federal crime.
  • Counterfeiting currency produced by the U.S. government can be a federal crime.

Drug trafficking, bank robbery, acts of terror, espionage, wire fraud, racketeering, sexual exploitation of children, and numerous other activities can be considered federal crimes.State crimes, on the other hand, violate state laws. In our state, we have a law against driving under the influence. That’s not a federal law, it’s a Florida law. So if you’re caught drinking and driving with a blood alcohol level above .08, you will be arrested and charged with a state crime. The same goes for possessing or selling drugs, sexual assault, burglary, theft, murder, and a slew of other state crimes.Remember, though, a state crime could also possibly be a federal crime. It all comes down to the details. Who was involved? Where did the alleged crime take place? What type of crime was supposedly committed? These things will determine if someone receives state or federal charges.

West Palm Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you violate a law that could be charged as either a state or federal crime, the Supremacy Clause in the U.S. Constitution says that federal law takes precedence over state law. So if you are a person of interest to the federal government or the crime is significant enough, you will be charged with a federal crime instead of a state crime.

Cracking Down on State and Federal Crimes

As mentioned above, states are free handle violations of their own laws – unless, of course, the crime falls under federal jurisdiction.Recently, however, the federal government has become more and more involved in certain situations – drugs and violent crimes, for example – that used to be left to the states. Under our current United States Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, federal involvement might continue to increase.On top of that, Sessions plans to bring back harsher sentences that President Obama worked to reform.In a memo released last month, Sessions and the Justice Department established a new policy that requires prosecutors to “charge and pursue the most serious, readily provable offense(s), which are those offenses that carry the most substantial guidelines sentence, including mandatory minimum sentences.”Under this memo, it seems that a state-level crime will end up with a federal-level punishment. So low-level or repeat offenders might have to face longer, and in some cases even life, sentences.Many defense attorneys throughout our state received letters giving them two weeks to reach plea deals before these new, harsher guidelines would take place.Many were surprised by this news and believe that the harshest sentence isn’t necessarily the best way to fight crime. Unfortunately, as long as Sessions is Attorney General, it seems that’s the way we’re heading.

Criminal Attorney West Palm Beach

For this reason, if you’re charged with any crime – regardless of whether it’s a state or federal crime – it’s more important than ever that you contact an experienced Florida defense attorney and fight back.About the Author:Attorney David W. Olson is the founder of the Law Offices of David W. Olson in West Palm Beach. He has been practicing criminal law and successfully representing clients throughout the State of Florida for over 30 years. Throughout his legal career, Mr. Olson has been honored numerous times for both his dedication and excellence in criminal law. He proudly holds the Martindale-Hubbell AV Rating, as well as being recognized as a Top 100 Trial Lawyer (2013), in the Nation’s Top One Percent of attorneys (2015), and as a 10 Best Member of the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys (2015). He has even received commendations from members of congress and other public officials for the fantastic work that he's done. Mr. Olson graduated from the University of Florida’s Fredric G. Levin College of Law in 1981 and has been a member of the Florida Bar since 1983.

Free case review

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

testimonials

Better call Saul? More like, BETTER CALL OLSON!

“David W. Olson is the best lawyer I have come across. He truly will sit and listen to your story and no matter what he will fight for your rights. He is very compassionate, and understanding. He will work with you and does his job with a good heart. Mr. Olson truly has saved my life and gave me a second chance. You wont go wrong with hiring David Olson as your attorney. I highly recommend him and I am proud to have chosen him as my attorney.”

mateo

Found the Best!

“David Olson has represented me on two occasions. I have since referred two of my friends and my nephew to him, and they have all told me they’ll always be grateful for that. Mr. Olson somehow had the charges dropped in both of my cases (actually, I do know how, because he and his staff answered all my questions and explained in detail things that I never would have thought of).”

jacob

Compassionate Attorney

"My husband and I hired Mr. Olson to represent our son a Florida gun shot victim. We are New Jersey residents. From day one we felt comfortable with Mr. Olson and found him to be easy to talk to and a very good listener. This was important to us after our horrible experience with another attorney who was more concerned with hearing himself speak than our wishes."

donna

Personable and Highly Intelligent!

“I saw David today to discuss some possible outcomes and possibilities of a probable future case. I did not know if I was going to be charged at all but I wanted to speak to someone to get a better idea of what I was looking at and what my options were. As soon as I shook his hand I felt very comfortable and respected. I laid it all out for him and asked him every last question I had, all of which were answered respectfully and intelligently.”

Daniel

The Best of the Best

"I have known David Olson for over 20 yrs. now and have had my rough times in my past and unfortunately I ended up in trouble with the law and really needed help from a real lawyer. I needed someone to listen to my side of the story and really fight my cases in court for me and get the BEST results for my cases. A very close friend said the man for the job is David W Olson; So I contacted him & he came to me the very next day to hear me out and I knew he was the lawyer that would do the best for me and he did.”

Chet B.

Hearty Recommendation

"I hired Mr. Olson from recommendation by family member. He was immediately behind my situation and put me completely at ease. There were no false promises, very upfront as far as expectations and outcomes.

His assistant, Jessica was a joy to work with as well. They came to my house, interviewed witnesses, went above and beyond and always respond to my calls. I totally endorse this attorney."

Eunice