An accused person could face either state or federal charges when it comes to criminal allegations. In most situations, criminal allegations will fall under the jurisdiction of the state court wherever the crime occurred. However, in other cases, the federal court system will claim jurisdiction over trying and deciding the matter.
Here are three types of crimes that -- depending on the circumstances surrounding them -- could end up being tried in federal court:
A public servant employed by the state of Georgia who commits a crime like bribery, embezzlement or corruption against the state might not be tried in state court due to the potential conflict of interest. In a lot of criminal cases that involve allegations pertaining to corrupt state employees, for example, the federal court system will try the matter.
Mail and wire fraud
This is a catch-all offense that could apply to a lot of different crimes. Basically, any kind of crime that involves the use of the U.S. postal service could be considered mail fraud. Imagine, for example, that you send a package of marijuana from Colorado to Florida. Using the U.S. postal service to transport drugs would be considered a federal mail fraud offense.
Drug trafficking charges
When a drug runner crosses state boundaries, smuggles drugs into the country from overseas or when a drug cartel is operating in multiple states at the same time, it could become unclear which state has jurisdiction over the matter. In these cases, since the potential crimes happened in multiple states, the federal court system will often handle the matter.
These are just three examples of common federal crimes. If you were accused of any kind of federal crime, make sure you understand your legal rights and options as a federal criminal defendant.