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The Difference between State and Federal Laws

Last updated 7 years ago

Many criminal cases are covered by both state and federal laws. Different criteria and sentencing standards are used depending on whether the crime is persecuted under federal or state law. If you are looking for a criminal attorney or are just trying to increase your own knowledge, then it’s good to have an understanding of how state and federal laws differ.


While state laws are enforced by state and local police, federal laws are enforced by federal bodies, such as the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, Treasury Department, or Secret Service. If arrested by federal agents, the suspect is taken to a federal facility for booking and then held in a federal jail until released for bail. In state cases, the suspect is booked at a local police district and held in a county jail. In either case, the suspect may request a criminal attorney while being questioned.


State laws can only be enforced in the state the crime was committed in.  Crimes that involve crossing state boarders can be persecuted under federal law, such as drug trafficking across state lines. Crimes can also be persecuted under the federal courts if the crime takes place on federal government property, such as a national park.


Crimes committed against federally regulated institutions, such as banks, fall under the jurisdiction of federal law. Thus, bank robberies are always a federal crime, although local police may assist in arresting the suspect.

Knowing what type of law you are persecuted under is essential for hiring a criminal defense law firm. If you are looking for law advice, then you can call Blumberg and Associates for a free consultation 24 hours a day at (602) 277-6180.


The materials available at this website are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Use and access to this website or any of the links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship. The opinions expressed at or through this site are the opinions of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of the firm or any individual attorney.


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