What is the difference between a federal crime and a state crime?

January 5, 2017 1:31 pm Published by

A federal crime is a violation of a statute passed by the United States Congress.  A state crime is a violation of a statute or ordinance passed by the state legislature or a local authority.  Most federal criminal statutes address conduct of national concern, or which involves interstate criminal activity. However, in recent decades the federal government has become increasingly involved in prosecuting intrastate drug and violent crimes; areas once left almost exclusively to the states.  Many crimes are prosecutable in both state and federal courts, although federal authorities rarely choose to separately prosecute defendants for conduct which is already the subject of a state criminal prosecution.

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