In the United States we have federal laws and state laws, and thus, “federal
offenses” and “state offenses.” Our federal laws are
created by the United States Congress, whereas state laws are created
by state legislatures.
Some offenses are solely criminalized under federal law; this means that
they are federal crimes. On the other hand, some offenses are criminalized
under both state law and federal law.
When an offender commits a crime that is a state and federal offense, for
example, identity theft, the state and federal prosecutors decide whether
to prosecute the case in state or federal court.
Many “federal crimes” involve white collar crimes, such as
embezzlement, healthcare fraud, mortgage fraud, tax evasion, bankruptcy
fraud, and other financially motivated crimes. In contrast, many theft, drug and
violent crimes are prosecuted in the state courts.
Not only are offenses categorized as state and
federal crimes, but they are also separated into misdemeanors and felonies. Of the two,
felonies are considered to be more serious.
A misdemeanor may result in up to one year in jail, whereas a felony can
result in at least one year behind bars to life in prison without the
possibility of parole. Or, in some cases the death penalty.
What is the difference between state and federal prison?
There is a definite difference between state and federal prison. Just ask
anyone who has been to both and they will quickly tell you that they like
it better in federal prison. Why? For starters, federal prisons tend to
house more white collar criminals, people who are in for non-violent,
but financially motivated schemes.
In contrast, the hardened criminals are sent to state penitentiaries. We’re
talking about the rapists and murderers, the people who are incarcerated
for serious violent felonies. Not only that, but state prisons have a
lot of rival gangs who do not fare well when they’re in close quarters
with their enemies from the streets.
When given the choice, most people would prefer to be housed in a federal
prison vs. a state prison, however, federal offenses tend to carry harsher
sentencing and penalties than state-level crimes.
If you are being charged with a crime that is criminalized under state
and federal law, you need to speak with a
Richmond criminal defense attorney from our firm right away –
call now for help!