Miami Federal Crime Attorney
2420 Coral Way, Miami, FL 33145 305.290.2109
Formidable Defense for Federal Charges Fight for Your Future with Joel DeFabio, Esq.

State vs. Federal Crimes in Miami

Miami Federal Crime Lawyer Explains the Difference

The United States and each state in the country have specific laws that define and penalize prohibited behavior. Engaging in these prohibited behaviors often results in either federal or state criminal charges. Cases often overlap both federal and state laws, making it necessary to determine which criminal court has jurisdiction to prosecute the crime. Typically, if a crime is confined to one state, it is tried in state criminal court. If, however, the crime occurs in multiple states or crosses a state line, it is often elevated to a federal offense.

Federal Offenses vs. State Offenses

At the state level, governments are responsible for developing criminal codes and laws that define both crimes and the potential penalties for committing them. A few examples of state crimes are:

  • Murder
  • Theft
  • Drug possession
  • Assault & battery

State crimes in Miami and throughout the rest of Florida are listed in Title XLVI of the Florida Statutes.

In addition to crimes that cross state lines, federal offenses are also crimes that violate federal laws or are committed on or against federal property. Many crimes that are considered federal offenses can be found in Title 18 of the United States Code. A few examples of crimes defined as federal include tax evasion, counterfeiting, fraud and terrorism. Kidnapping and murder are good examples of state crimes that become federal when they occur across multiple states.

Beyond the many statutes defining criminal offenses in Title 18, it is also possible to be charged, prosecuted and punished under one of the many different rules and regulations contained in the Byzantine complex of federal law. According to an estimate made by the American Bar Association and reported in the Wall Street Journal, there are probably well in excess of 3,000 federal crimes on the books.

Federal Courts vs. State Courts

Only cases that are federal offenses are tried in federal court. All states have federal district courts that function as federal criminal courts to hear cases regarding violations of federal law. Federal criminal cases are tried on behalf of the people of the United States by the U.S. Attorney's Office. The majority of crimes in Miami, however, are violations of state law and are prosecuted in state court.

States have one or more criminal court systems where cases are brought on behalf of the people of the state by the district or state attorney's office. If you are being investigated or charged with a federal crime, come to Joel DeFabio, PA for help. We can practice in both state and federal court, and our Miami federal crime lawyer has a proven track record of success in defending clients.

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  1. Over 35 years of Experience
  2. Shaped the South Florida Criminal Justice System
  3. Winner of the Rodney Thaxton "Against All Odds" Award
  4. Defended Over 300 Federal Cases
  5. Most Effective Lawyer Nominee in 2008
  6. Has Earned 25 Distinguished Awards
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