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What Makes a Crime a Federal Crime?

Friday / March 25, 2016

I get this question a lot. And it’s a valid question. What crimes are federal and which are governed by Arizona?


State vs. Federal


Most crimes, like murder or theft, are violations of state laws. State legislators use general police power to regulate the conduct of citizens. Federal offenses, on the other hand, are tied to some sort of federal or national issue and are handled by federal agencies like the FBI or the DEA.


Federal crimes can fall under the following examples:

  • If the case was being investigated by the FBI, or if you were arrested by a federal agent
  • If the alleged offense took place on federal land
  • If the alleged offense took place in multiple states, or if the person crossed state lines
  • If the case deals with immigration and/or customs


Federal Drug Charges


What about federal drug charges? When does a drug charge become a federal issue?


First, a sure fire way for a drug crime to fall under federal jurisdiction is when a federal officer (not a state police officer) makes the arrest. Other reasons include drug trafficking, drug manufacturing, and selling in a protected location, i.e. selling to minors on school grounds.


Sometimes, state and federal crimes will overlap and the two agencies will have to work together. This can lead to the person being charged at the state level and then the federal level later. Federal drug charges are going to be more severe than state level drug charges, sometimes having a minimum sentence of five to ten years in federal prison.


Drug Crime Attorney


If you have been charged with a federal drug crime, contact me, Kyle T. Green, today for a free, no-obligation consultation. During this consultation, we will review the facts of your case and discuss all the options available to you so you are empowered with all the information you need to move forward.


To schedule a free case review with an experienced federal drug crime attorney, call 480-331-7568. I make myself available to my clients at all times of the day, no matter your current status. Same day consultations are often available. Get the help you need immediately.




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