What Makes a Crime a Federal Offense?
If you are unfamiliar with criminal law, you may wonder why some crimes are classified as state crimes while others fall under federal jurisdiction. Below are some of the factors that could make a crime a federal offense:
- National concern: When a crime compromises the country’s security, it is generally treated as a federal crime.
- Interstate crimes: If a crime involves more than one independent state, it becomes an interstate crime, and these are usually federal offenses. For example, if drugs were transported from one state to another, this is a federal crime.
- Federal property: When a crime occurs on federal property, such as a government agency office or a military camp, it becomes a federal crime.
- Federal officials, employees, or members were involved: Any crime committed against a government employee is considered a federal offense.
- Listed as a federal offense in the Constitution: The Constitution lists over 500 specific federal violations.