Over 65 Years Of Combined Trial Experience

What are the most common federal crimes in the United States?

On Behalf of | Jun 3, 2024 | Drug Charges, Federal Crimes, White Collar Crimes |

Federal crimes violate federal law, as opposed to state or local laws. United States Attorneys prosecute defendants in federal courts. In the United States, attorneys representing defendants in federal court must meet specific qualifications and be admitted to practice in that federal court. Federal crimes tend to be more serious and far-ranging in nature and are investigated by federal agencies such as the FBI, DEA, ATF and others.


Crimes are handled at the federal level for several reasons, primarily relating to the nature of the offense, taking place in multiple jurisdictions and the laws involved. It also may be a matter where the local or state court requests the federal court take the case.


Common federal charges


Some of the most common federal crimes include:

  1. Drug offenses: These involve the trafficking, distribution, or manufacturing of controlled substances. Federal drug crimes often pertain to large-scale operations or the crossing of state or international borders.
  2. Firearms violations: Federal law regulates who may own firearms and what types are legal. Common federal firearms offenses include the illegal sale of weapons, possession of firearms by prohibited persons and trafficking of firearms.
  3. Fraud: This encompasses a wide range of activities, such as healthcare fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, and securities fraud. Federal fraud charges typically involve schemes that cross state lines or utilize federal communication systems.
  4. Tax evasion: Failing to pay taxes owed to the federal government can lead to tax evasion charges. This includes individuals and corporations who do not accurately report their financial information to the IRS.
  5. Immigration violations: Federal immigration laws regulate who can enter, reside in or work in the United States. Common violations include illegal entry, overstaying a visa, and fraudulent marriages for immigration purposes.
  6. Cybercrimes: With the rise of the internet and digital communications, offenses such as identity theft, hacking and distributing child pornography online are federal crimes.
  7. Money Laundering: This involves the processing of criminal proceeds to disguise their illegal origin. It often is linked to other criminal activities like drug trafficking or terrorism.

These crimes are just a few activities leading to federal charges.

It’s a different justice system

By handling certain crimes at the federal level, the government ensures uniform law enforcement across all states, providing a standardized approach to justice for offenses that have broader implications for the entire nation or involve complex, multi-jurisdictional issues.

The federal prison system, managed by the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), includes various facilities designed to house inmates with differing security needs and correctional requirements. These facilities range from high-security penitentiaries to low-security prison camps or centers. The BOP may also have contracts with private companies that own and operate facilities.

As mentioned above, these cases require a defense attorney who can litigate complex and wide-ranging cases within the federal court system. The higher stakes of these cases require experienced, knowledgeable and aggressive lawyers to effectively defend the defendant’s rights.