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What’s the Difference Between Federal and State Crimes?

Updated: August 19, 2021
Antony Abboud
By Antony Abboud

Antony “Tony” Abboud is a partner and one of the proud founders of Gounaris Abboud, LPA. His law career included positions as a municipal court prosecutor and acting magistrate. He has been blessed to focus his 20-year law career in the two areas of criminal and traffic defense.

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

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

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

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
  • 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.
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Examples of Federal Crimes vs. State Crimes

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

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

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

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.

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