difference between federal and state crimes

Facing criminal charges causes a lot of anxiety.

After being charged with an offense, you need an experienced Ohio criminal defense attorney on your side.

How do you know how to find the best lawyer for your case when you don’t understand your charges?

What’s the difference between federal and state crimes?

There are both common questions that we’ll answer for you below

Learning More About the Difference Between Federal and State Crimes

Understanding the difference between state and federal felony charges can be confusing. Many crimes can be charged either as state or felony offenses.

State and federal courts often have concurrent jurisdiction for a crime, meaning that state or federal authorities can arrest and prosecute someone.

Ohio state criminal offenses have different elements of the crime than federal charges.

State convictions may also carry different penalties under Ohio law than federal convictions.

State Felony vs. Federal Felony Charges in Ohio

What are federal charges? When can a person expect to face federal charges instead of state charges?

There are many situations where a crime may be a federal offense rather than a state offense.

The following are the most common reasons that a person faces federal charges instead of state charges under Ohio law:

  • Crime occurs on federal property;
  • Crime involves interstate connections, or movement across state borders (i.e., from Ohio into Pennsylvania);
  • Crime involves a federal government agency or investigation by a federal government agency such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), or the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF); or
  • Crime is part of a larger operation or investigation by a federal agency or an investigation that involves individuals in more than one state.

Examples of Federal Crimes vs. State Crimes

Examples of types of crimes that are charged as federal crimes include:

  • Weapons charges;
  • White-collar financial crimes;
  • Computer crimes;
  • Internet sex crimes;
  • Organized crime; and
  • Drug trafficking

Examples of crimes that are charged under state law rather than federal law include:

  • Homicide;
  • Robbery;
  • Burglary;
  • Assault and battery;
  • Drug possession (small amounts); and
  • Theft offenses.

In some situations, crimes that are usually charged under state law can be charged as federal offenses. For example, if a robbery or burglary charge is related to a large-scale criminal organization that has been operating across state lines, the charges will be federal.

Seek Advice from an Ohio Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have questions about criminal charges in Ohio or need help building a defense, our Ohio criminal defense attorney is here to help.

Contact Gounaris Abboud to get started on your defense today.

FAQ Section

What are examples of crimes that can be charged on the federal level?

Charges can include weapons charges, white-collar financial crimes, computer crimes, internet sex crimes, organized crime; and drug trafficking.

What are examples of crimes that are charged on the state level?

Crimes that are charged on the state level can include homicide, robbery, burglary, assault and battery, drug possession, and theft offenses.

Author Photo

Antony “Tony” Abboud

Antony “Tony” Abboud is a partner and one of the proud founders of Gounaris Abboud, LPA. Mr. Abboud is a long-time resident of the Miami Valley. In 2011, Mr. Abboud was included in the list of Super Lawyers® Rising Stars℠. Mr. Abboud has since been voted to the Super Lawyers® Rising Stars℠ list consecutively in 2012, 2013 and 2014. In 2012, Mr. Abboud was given a 10.0 “Superb” rating by Avvo, which is an attorney rating website recognized around the nation. Upon receiving a scholarship to the University Of Dayton School Of Law, he completed his Juris Doctor and commenced a successful law career as one of the Miami Valley’s premier and criminal defense attorneys.

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