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There are state crimes, and then there are federal crimes. Federal crimes are those crimes that violate federal law. They are tried at the federal court level and often involve much more serious penalties than those crimes tried at the state level. Crimes tried at the federal level are prosecuted with the backing of the federal government and all of its resources. Here is more of what you need to know about federal criminal charges.

Federal Criminal Charges

Most of the time, federal crimes are those involving a federally regulated activity. This includes things like the U.S. postal service. Mail tampering is a federal crime. Airplanes are regulated at the federal level and so something like plan hijacking would be tried at the federal level. Those accused of tax evasion are also going to be tried at the federal level.

Whether a crime will be tried in federal court depends on jurisdiction. Federal courts will have jurisdiction over federal crimes. Federal crimes are not only tried at the federal level, but are also subject to federal investigation. This means that federal crimes will be investigated by federal government agencies such as the FBI, DEA, NSA, and Board Patrol. While federal government agencies will likely lead the investigation, there is often collaboration in working with state law enforcement as well.

So, federal crimes are tried in federal court and investigated by federal agencies. They are also prosecuted by U.S. attorneys. The burden of proof for federal crimes, however, remains the same as it is at the state level. The U.S. attorney prosecuting the case must prove guilt of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.

Federal crimes will also be subject to the sentencing guidelines of the federal court and the federal court procedures. Federal courts have their own sentencing guidelines and procedures. It is similar to state court sentencing guidelines in the way that sentences are evaluated based on the seriousness of the crime. The more serious or heinous the crime, the higher the level of offense and the more serious the sentencing is likely to be. Every federal crime has a base level and the crime charged can be raised based on exacerbating circumstances surrounding the specific criminal action involved in the charge.

A defendant’s criminal history will also be taken into account in sentencing. A defendant’s criminal history is reviewed and they are then assigned a category. There are six categories of criminal defendants, all assigned a roman numeral. The least severe category is Category I and it is assigned for the majority of first time offenders. Conversely, the most severe category is Category VI and it is assigned to the most serious category of offenders. These are offenders with extensive criminal histories and those who have a history of committing serious crimes.

Criminal Defense Attorneys

Federal court is serious business. If you have been charged with or being investigated for a federal crime, do not delay in contacting Navarrete & Schwartz. We are proud to serve the residence of Midland, Texas. Contact us today.