Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Crimes That can Result in a Federal Prison Sentence

Crimes that will land a person in federal prison are wide and varied. There is often an overlap with state law regarding offenses that can result in incarceration as well. The rules for determining whether a crime will be deemed a federal or a state one can be confusing. These charges tend to be broken up into three categories including theft, drug charges, and violent charges. Read on and some of the questions you have regarding the offenses that will draw the ire of the federal courts will be answered.

What is the Difference between Federal and State Prison?

There are several distinct differences between doing prison time under the federal system or under a state system. The most obvious difference is the percentage of your sentence you must complete before release. While it is common in state systems for convicts to get released after 50 percent of their time, federal inmates tend to serve somewhere over 85 percent of their time before they are eligible for release. There is also considerably less violence within federal institutions than state facilities and the institutions in the federal system even have a wider range of recreational, occupational, and educational amenities.

What Types of Theft are Federal?

As with many crimes, theft can be raised to the level of a federal offense. This can be done either by stealing from certain entities, or by stealing using specific media. Theft using wire transfer or fraud or stealing from a bank or federal entity can result in federal felony charges for theft being filed. This is becoming a common focus regarding crime for the federal government with the rise of computer based crimes by black hat hackers and opportunistic criminals.

What Types of Drug Offenses are Federal?

Drug offenses can be made federal through various means. The most common way that drug charges get taken up as federal charges is due to the actual amount. Large amounts are seen as implying distributive practice, which exacerbates the crime. It is also possible for drug charges to end up in federal court when drugs have been transported across either state or international borders. In either of these cases, mandatory minimums of five year sentences are the norm.

What Types of Violent Offenses are Federal?

Violent offenses are generally handled by state governments. This is despite the fact that most charges have a federal version, including murder. However, some notable exceptions exist, including terrorist acts as well as threatening or physically harming a federal employee. Engaging in any of these activities can result in charges being filed in federal, rather than state, courts. The reason that violent charges have been so expanded under the federal system is that jurisdiction, or where the crime occurred, limits a single state's ability to prosecute the act.

The federal court system was put into place to deal with matters that exceeded the scope of state laws. With the inception of the digital age and the concept of a global economy, crime has gotten more complex and is practiced on a scale that was once impossible. This has resulted in the federal government handling cases of extreme crime as well as those with federally protected entities as the victim. Understanding what it means when a person has been charged with a federal felony can add insight to crimes that are highlighted in popular media.

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