Question: What is the difference between federal and state crimes?
Benson Varghese: From an intellectual level, federal crimes are crimes that in some way affect interstate commerce or affect more than one state. At a practical level, the federal government is interested in prosecuting crimes that are networks or have a greater impact on society, and they’re more interested in that larger effect of taking down crime than they are in prosecuting individuals who are charged with crimes.
A great example of a case that is going to be federal in nature (because of how transactions are conducted) is wire fraud. By definition, when you are accused of committing fraud and that fraud takes place over the computer, through banks, this is happening over state lines and the federal government has jurisdiction over those crimes. Another way for an offense to become a federal case is for it to take place on a federal territory, so if it’s a military base, even a ticket on a military base is a federal case prosecuted in a federal court.