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The Difference Between Federal and State Crimes

 Posted on May 14, 2024 in Uncategorized

TX defense lawyerSome defendants are surprised to find out that they are facing federal rather than state charges. You may have believed that what you were doing only involved people within the state of Texas. If you never left the state - or, in the case of internet crimes, never left your house - you might have thought you could only be prosecuted at the state level. However, the federal government has jurisdiction over any case that crosses state lines, even electronically, and any case that involves interstate commerce. In modern times, it is very difficult to carry out any financial crime without impacting commerce between states in some way. You need a skilled Dallas, TX federal white-collar crimes lawyer if you have been accused of a federal offense.

When Does the Federal Government Have Jurisdiction? 

Your case might be handled at the federal level if:

  • Any victim was in another state - If anyone affected by the offense was located outside of Texas, the offense crossed state lines and falls within the jurisdiction of the federal government. 
  • A financial institution involved is based in another state - Even if the alleged victim is also in Texas, you could be federally prosecuted if the offense involved a financial institution based in another state or backed by the federal government. Most banks are backed by the federal government. For example, if you committed credit card fraud against another Texan, but her credit card company is located elsewhere or has federal backing, you may have committed a federal crime. 
  • Any federal agency was involved - Most commonly, the federal agency involved is the United States Postal Service. Nearly any mail fraud case can be prosecuted at the federal level, even if the mail in question was sent from one location in Texas to another location in Texas and the mail never physically left the state. Other federal agencies commonly involved include the Transportation Security Administration and the IRS. 
  • The offense took place on federal property - If any part of the offense was carried out on federal property located within Texas, such as a federal courthouse or a national park, the offense can be prosecuted federally. For example, if you met a victim to exchange money at a federal courthouse, your case likely falls under federal jurisdiction. 

In some cases, you can be prosecuted by both the state and the federal government for the same crime.

Contact a Dallas, TX Federal White-Collar Crimes Attorney

Spencer & Associates is skilled in representing people who have been charged with federal crimes. Experienced Dallas County, TX federal white-collar crimes lawyer Arnold Spencer can often resolve cases without going to trial. Contact us at 214-385-8500 for a complimentary consultation.

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