Federal Crimes


In the American criminal justice system, most prosecutions occur at the state level in municipal or county courts. The federal government exercises jurisdiction over criminal matters when the states lack jurisdiction, including areas specifically reserved to the federal government by the U.S. Constitution, and over criminal offenses that occur on federal property. Federal authorities may also prosecute certain crimes that, while normally handled by the states, become federal offenses by crossing from one state to another. In these types of cases, federal and state prosecutors may be able to pursue separate actions against a defendant, despite the Fifth Amendment’s protection against “double jeopardy.”


Federal Subject Matter Jurisdiction

Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution grants the federal government, through Congress, exclusive authority over certain issues, such as bankruptcy, immigration, patents, the Postal Service, and coining and regulating money. Federal courts therefore have the exclusive authority, known as “subject matter jurisdiction,” to consider criminal cases involving these matters, which might include fraud offenses relating to bankruptcy, mail fraud using the U.S. Mail, criminal immigration cases, and money counterfeiting.


Congress has constitutional authority over taxation under the Taxing and Spending Clause of Article I, Section 8 and the Sixteenth Amendment, which enables federal prosecutions for tax evasion and tax fraud. The Fourteenth Amendment gives the federal government jurisdiction over prosecutions for civil rights violations.


The Commerce Clause, also found in Article I, Section 8, gives Congress the authority “to regulate Commerce . . . among the several States.” This has been used as the basis for a substantial amount of legislation regarding criminal law, as discussed more below.


Crimes Committed on Federal Property

City, county, and state governments have direct authority over most areas of the country. Unless an alleged criminal offense falls under the federal government’s subject matter jurisdiction, state or local laws apply in most criminal matters, ranging from minor traffic offenses to serious felonies. The federal Criminal Code includes provisions for many offenses normally handled at the state level. These include violent offenses like assault, kidnapping, and homicide, as well as non-violent financial crimes.


These federal statutes apply to offenses that occur in areas owned or administered directly by the federal government, or under direct federal authority. This includes geographic locations like U.S. National Parks, federal courthouses, federal prisons, the District of Columbia, and Indian reservations. It also includes locations over which the federal government has temporary authority, such as airplanes in flight and ocean-going vessels at sea.


Crimes Committed Across State Lines

A vast array of federal statutes are based on Congress’ authority under the Commerce Clause, including laws regarding drugs and firearms. Many federal criminal statutes expressly limit their application to acts that affect interstate commerce or that cross state lines. The mail and wire fraud statutes give the federal government jurisdiction over many offenses that might otherwise fall under state authority.


Concurrent Jurisdiction

Federal and state law may overlap in some criminal cases, particularly if the federal statute relies on Commerce Clause powers. This is known as “concurrent jurisdiction,” and it can have serious consequences for some defendants. The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects any person from being “subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb.” Known as “double jeopardy,” this means that if the government fails to convict a person of an offense, it cannot prosecute the person again for the same offense. Because of concurrent jurisdiction, state and federal statutes are considered different “offenses,” meaning that if a person is acquitted of a federal charge, state prosecutors could still bring charges.

Federal crimes are typically considered more serious than the types of crimes charged in state courts. The reason for this is two-fold: the resources of the federal government in prosecuting the crimes far outweighs that of state prosecuting agencies and the sentencing guidelines in the federal system are much more severe than sentencing guidelines at the state level. Federal crimes are prosecuted by the United States Attorney's Office with the assistance of various federal and state agencies including the FBI, SEC, IRS, DEA, U.S. Postal Inspector and local law enforcement. This makes for a much more thorough and comprehensive investigation that the types of investigations conducted in state court. It is important that you retain an experienced federal criminal defense lawyer such as Maximillian A. Novel in order to defend against government prosecutions. Mr. Novel has successfully defended against federal prosecutions in New York and New Jersey including the Eastern District of New York, Southern District of New York and District of New Jersey. If you believe you are the target of a federal investigation do not wait until the feds come knocking at six in the morning to retain counsel. Hire Maximillian A. Novel immediately to protect your rights.

The federal crimes listed was compiled from Title 18 and Title 26 of the United States Code, among others. While this federal crimes list is extensive, it is not to be considered a complete list.


Abusive Sexual Contact

Advocating Overthrow of Government

Aggravated Assault/Battery

Aggravated Identity Theft

Aggravated Sexual Abuse

Aiming a Laser Pointer at an Aircraft

Airplane Hijacking



Armed Robbery



Assault with a Deadly Weapon

Assaulting or Killing Federal Officer

Assisting or Instigating Escape

Attempt to commit Murder/Manslaughter

Bank Burglary

Bankruptcy Fraud/Embezzlement

Bank Larceny

Bank Robbery


Bombing Matters

Bond Default

Breaking and/or Entering Carrier Facilities

Bribery Crimes

Certification of Checks (Fraud)

Child Abuse

Child Exploitation

Child Pornography

Civil Action to Restrain Harassment of a Victim or Witness


Commodities Price Fixing

Computer Crime

Concealing Escaped Prisoner

Concealing Person from Arrest

Concealment of Assets

Conspiracy (in matters under FBI jurisdiction)

Conspiracy to Impede or Injure an Officer

Contempt of Court

Continuing Criminal Enterprise

Conveying False Information

Copyright Matters


Counterintelligence Crimes

Credit/Debit Card Fraud

Crime Aboard Aircraft

Crimes on Government Reservations

Crimes on Indian Reservations

Criminal Contempt of Court

Criminal Forfeiture

Criminal Infringement of a Copyright

Cyber Crimes

Damage to Religious Property

Delivery to Consignee

Demands Against the U.S.

Destruction of Aircraft or Motor Vehicles Used in Foreign Commerce

Destruction of an Energy Facility

Destruction of Property to Prevent Seizure

Destruction of Records in Federal Investigations and Bankruptcy

Destruction of Corporate Audit Records

Destruction of Veterans’ Memorials

Detention of Armed Vessel

Disclosure of Confidential Information

Domestic Security

Domestic Terrorism

Domestic Violence

Drive-by Shooting

Drug Abuse Violations

Drug Smuggling

Drug Trafficking

DUI/DWI on Federal Property

Economic Espionage

Election Law Crimes


Embezzlement Against Estate

Entering Train to Commit Crime

Enlistment to Serve Against the U.S.

Environmental Scheme Crimes

Escaping Custody/Escaped Federal Prisoners

Examiner Performing Other Services

Exportation of Drugs


Failure to Appear on Felony Offense

Failure to Pay Legal Child Support Obligations

False Bail

False Pretenses

False Statements Relating to Health Care Matters

Falsely Claiming Citizenship

False Declarations before Grand Jury or Court

False Entries in Records of Interstate Carriers

False Information and Hoaxes

False Statement to Obtain Unemployment Compensation

Federal Aviation Act

Federal Civil Rights Violations (hate crimes, police misconduct)

Female Genital Mutilation

Financial Transactions with Foreign Government

First Degree Murder

Flight to Avoid Prosecution or Giving Testimony

Forced Labor

Forcible Rape


Fraud Activity in Connection with Electronic Mail

Fraud Against the Government


Hacking Crimes

Harboring Terrorists

Harming Animals Used in Law Enforcement

Hate Crime Acts


Hostage Taking

Hobbs Act

Identity Theft

Illegal Possession of Firearms

Immigration Offenses

Impersonator Making Arrest or Search

Importation of Drugs

Influencing Juror by Writing

Injuring Officer

Insider Trading Crimes

Insurance Fraud

Interference with the Operation of a Satellite

International Parental Kidnapping

International Terrorism

Interstate Domestic Violence

Interstate Violation of Protection Order


Lobbying with Appropriated Moneys

Mailing Threatening Communications

Major Fraud Against the U.S.


Medical/Health Care Fraud

Missile Systems Designed to Destroy Aircraft

Misuse of Passport

Misuse of Visas, Permits, or Other Documents


Money Laundering

Motor Vehicle Theft

Murder by a Federal Prisoner

Murder Committed During Drug-related Drive-by shooting

Murder Committed in Federal Government Facility

Narcotics Violations

Obstructing Examination of Financial Institution

Obstruction of Court Orders

Obstruction of Federal audit

Obstruction of Justice

Obstruction of Criminal Investigations

Officer Failing to Make Reports

Partial Birth Abortion

Penalties for Neglect or Refusal to Answer Subpoena



Picketing or Parading


Possession by Restricted Persons

Possession of False Papers to Defraud the U.S.

Possession of Narcotics

Possession of Child Pornography

Private Correspondence with Foreign Government

Probation Violation

Product Tampering

Prohibition of Illegal Gambling Businesses


Protection of Foreign Officials

Public Corruption Crimes


Radiological Dispersal Devices

Ransom Money


Receiving the Proceeds of Extortion

Recording or Listening to Grand or Petit Juries While Deliberating

Reentry of an Alien Removed on National Security Grounds

Registration of Certain Organizations

Reproduction of Citizenship Papers

Resistance to Extradition Agent

Rescue of Seized Property

Retaliating Against a Federal Judge by False Claim or Slander of Title

Retaliating Against a Witness, Victim, or an Informant


Robberies and Burglaries Involving Controlled Substances


Sale of Citizenship Papers

Sale of Stolen Vehicles

Searches Without Warrant

Second Degree Murder

Serial Murders

Sexual Abuse

Sexual Abuse of a Minor

Sexual Assault

Sexual Battery

Sexual Conduct with a Minor

Sexual Exploitation

Sex Trafficking



Solicitation to Commit a Crime of Violence

Stalking (In Violation of Restraining Order)

Stolen Property; Buying, Receiving, or Possessing

Subornation of Perjury

Suits Against Government Officials

Tampering with a Witness, Victim, or Informant

Tampering with Consumer Products

Tampering with Vessels

Theft of Trade Secrets


Trafficking in Counterfeit Goods or Services

Transmission of Wagering Information (Gambling)

Transportation into State Prohibiting Sale

Transportation of Slaves from U.S.

Transportation of Stolen Vehicles

Transportation of Terrorists



Unauthorized Removal of Classified Documents

Use of Fire or Explosives to Destroy Property

Use of Weapons of Mass Destruction


Video Voyeurism

Violation of Prohibitions Governing Atomic Weapons

Violence at International airports

Violent Crimes in Aid of Racketeering Activity

Willful Wrecking of a Train Resulting in Death

Wire Fraud

General Crimes:



Assassination, Kidnapping, or Assaulting the President, Vice-President, Presidential Staff Member, or Vice-Presidential Staff Member

Assassination, Kidnapping, or Assaulting a Member of Congress

Assassination, Kidnapping, or Assaulting an Executive Department Head or Director, CIA

Assassination, Kidnapping, or Assaulting a Supreme Court Justice

Assaulting or Killing a Federal Officer

Bank Burglary

Bank Fraud and Embezzlement

Bank Larceny

Bank Robbery

Bombing Matters

Bond Default


Civil Rights

Congressional Assassination Statute

Conspiracy (in matters under FBI jurisdiction)

Conspiracy to Impede or Injure an Officer

Contempt of Court

Copyright Matters

Credit and/or Debt Card and Related Fraud

Crime Aboard Aircraft

Crimes on Government Reservations

Crimes on Indian Reservations

Crimes within the Maritime Jurisdiction

Destruction of Aircraft or Motor Vehicles Used in Interstate or Foreign Commerce

Domestic Security

Election Laws

Employee Retirement Income Security Act

Escaped Federal Prisoners, Escape and Rescue


Ethics in Government Act of 1978


Extortionate Credit Transactions

Falsely Claiming Citizenship

False Entries in Records of Interstate Carriers

Federal Aviation Act

Federal Housing Administration Matters

Federal Regulation of Lobbying Act

Federal Tort Claims Act

Federal Train Wreck Statute

Foreign Agents Registration Act

Fraud Against the Government

Fraud by Wire

Fraudulent Practices Concerning Certain Military and Naval Documents and Seals of Department or Agencies of theUnited States

Government Property - Theft, Robbery, Embezzlement, Illegal Possession, and Destruction


Hobbs Act

Illegal Gambling Business

Illegal Manufacture, Use, Possession, or Sale of Emblems and Insignia

Illegal Use of Government Transportation Requests

Illegal Wearing of the Uniform and Related Statutes


Interception of Communications

Interference with Discrimination in Housing, Civil Rights Act of 1964, and federally protected activities

Interstate Gambling Activities

Interstate Obscene or Harassing Telephone Calls

Interstate Transportation in Aid of Racketeering

Interstate Transportation of Gambling Devices

Interstate Transportation of Lottery Tickets

Interstate Transportation of Obscene Matter

Interstate Transportation of Prison-made Goods

Interstate Transportation of Stolen Cattle

Interstate Transportation of Stolen Motor Vehicle or Aircraft

Interstate Transportation of Stolen Property

Interstate Transmission of Wagering Information

Interstate Transportation of Wagering Paraphernalia

Involuntary Servitude and Slavery

Irregularities in Federal Penal Institutions

Kickback Racket Act


Labor Management Relations Act, 1974

Mann Act

Migratory Bird Act

Narcotics Violations

National Bankruptcy Act

Obstruction of Justice


Protection of Foreign Officials

Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations

Railway Labor Act


Security Matters

Selective Service Matters

Sexual Exploitation of Children

Sports Bribery

Theft from Interstate Shipment

Unlawful Flight to Avoid Prosecution, Custody, Confinement, and Giving testimony

Veterans Administration Matters

Accounting Matters and Civil Cases:

Admiralty Matters

Alien Property Custodian Matters

Ascertaining Financial Ability to Pay Claims, Fines, and Judgments

Civil Rights Act of 1964, public accommodations, public education, public facilities, employment (involving only governmental agencies, state, county, municipal, and in the private sector only where the employee is under contract to the United States), discrimination in housing

Contract Settlement Act

Federal Reserve Act

Federal Tort Claims Act

Mail Fraud (accounting phases)

National Bankruptcy Act

Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act of 1974

False Claims (civil)