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State vs. Federal Offenses

In the United States, we have state offenses and federal offenses. What is the difference between the two? In the U.S., federal laws are created by Congress to safeguard the citizens of the United States, and state laws are created by state legislatures.

Some criminal acts are strictly considered “federal” offenses, which means they are only prosecuted in Federal District Court.

On the other hand, some criminal acts are criminalized under both state and federal law. When someone has committed a crime that violates state and federal law, it is up to the state and federal prosecutors to decide if the defendant will be tried in state or federal court.

Misdemeanors and Felonies

Criminal acts are either classified as misdemeanors or felonies. Of the two, misdemeanors are less serious. A misdemeanor carries a sentence of one year or less, whereas a felony may involve a prison sentence that lasts at least a year or up to life in prison.

In reference to federal crimes, the United States Congress is the entity that establishes the penalties for federal offenses, and it decides which federal crimes are misdemeanors and which crimes are felonies.

In contrast, it is the state legislature that decides which state crimes are misdemeanors and which crimes are felonies. Simply put, the state legislature determines the penalties for state-level crimes.

State Prison vs. Federal Prison

What is the major difference between the state and federal prison system? The federal prison system generally evolves around money-centered crimes, such as credit card fraud, corrupt county officials, and other white collar crimes. Often, the inmates in federal prisons are highly educated individuals.

The feds do not have people who are in for DUIs, and defendants who are incarcerated for assaultive offenses.

With state prisons, there are people who have committed drug crimes, violent crimes, and sexually-motivated crimes. The state prisons are known for being more dangerous than the federal prisons, in part because there are a lot of gangs, many who are in deep opposition against each other.

Are you facing state or federal criminal charges in Plano or Dallas? If so, contact The Zendeh Del Law Firm, PLLC for an aggressive defense. We defend clients in the state and federal court systems.