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Breaking a Federal Law vs. State Law

by Lindsay Chambers

The legal system can be daunting, especially when distinguishing between federal and state laws. Both sets of laws dictate what we can and cannot do in society, but they operate under different jurisdictions and carry unique consequences. Let’s explore the distinctions between federal and state laws and what could happen if you find yourself on the wrong side of either.

Comparing Federal and State Laws

Congress enacts federal laws, which apply to everyone in all 50 U.S. states. These address issues extending beyond state boundaries, ensuring a uniform standard from coast to coast. Agencies such as the FBI, DEA and Homeland Security uphold and enforce federal law.

Federal laws typically deal with areas such as:

  • Taxes
  • Immigration
  • Bankruptcy
  • Social Security
  • Civil rights
  • Interstate commerce

In contrast, state laws only apply within a specific state’s borders. These can vary widely, reflecting the population’s diverse needs and values. State, local and regional law enforcement agencies are responsible for prosecuting and enacting these laws.

State laws typically govern areas such as:

  • Education
  • Property
  • Marriage and divorce
  • Business contracts
  • Most criminal cases, including robbery, assault and murder

Notable Differences Between Breaking Federal and State Laws

Since breaking a federal law typically involves violating a large-scale offense or committing a crime that threatens national security, you can expect correspondingly more severe penalties. Federal charges often involve extensive investigations and severe penalties, including lengthy prison sentences, hefty fines and permanent criminal records.

Violations of state laws can range from minor infractions to felonies. The penalties you face will be commensurate with the nature of the crime, ranging from community service and fines to imprisonment.

Protect Your Rights With Brower Law

Whether you face charges under federal or California law, the implications can be significant. Ronald Brower’s decades of experience in criminal defense have equipped him to handle your case, building a robust legal case to ensure you get the best possible outcome.

If you break state or federal laws, understanding what to expect is crucial in preparing for the potential legal battles ahead. Contact our office today for the expert guidance you need to effectively manage your case’s complexities.

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