As the United States of America is divided into 50 states, so are many of the laws and legalities. Each state is afforded the right to make their own set of rules pertaining to certain criminal activities and violations. These are known simply as state laws, and there really is a noticeable level of variance from one state to another.
For example: Several states have decriminalized recreational marijuana, allowing people to use it without fear of penalty. Other states, however, consider it a Schedule I drug, making possession of scant amounts a misdemeanor or possibly even a felony.
State crimes make up the majority of crimes in the United States, and many state crimes are only misdemeanors. Monetary penalties for misdemeanors rarely exceed $5,000 and, by definition, cannot imprison a person for more than one year. Some state crimes are considered infractions, which enact only monetary or administrative penalties and do not put a mark on someone’s criminal record.
Federal Crime & Punishment
Whereas state crimes are defined by an individual state’s mandates, a federal crime is a violation that is generally considered illegal anywhere in the country, as it violates federal law.
Some examples of federal crimes include:
- Hate crimes
Federal crimes will carry harsher penalties upon conviction when compared to the average state crime; maximum penalties for a federal crime could include life imprisonment without parole, or even capital punishment for particularly violent or treasonous crimes.
A federal crime is also handled in a different court system than state crimes. In many cases, a grand jury must first be used to determine if there exists the grounds for bringing federal charges against someone. If there is ample evidence to suggest that wrongdoing has occurred, a federal trial will begin, which may be kept private depending on the circumstances of the alleged crimes.
No matter if you have been accused of a state crime or a federal crime, if you live in Arizona, you can rely on Naegle Crider Criminal Defense Attorneys for legal protection. Our Mesa criminal defense attorney has achieved a 10/10 “Superb” rating on Avvo and has been named in the “Top 40 Under 40” by the National Trial Lawyers. Call 480.418.0776 to schedule a complimentary case analysis with Attorney Charlie Naegle.