Legal Dictionary

federal crime

Legal Definition of federal crime

Related terms

Definition of federal crime

Further reading

In the United States, a federal crime or federal offense is a crime that is either made illegal by U.S. federal legislation (Title 18 of the United States Code) or a crime that occurs on U.S. federal property.

The term "federal offence" has a separate meaning in Canada.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has been granted powers to investigate federal offenses.

Mail fraud which crosses state lines or involves the (national) United States Postal Service is a federal offense. Other federal crimes include kidnapping, tax evasion, counterfeiting, theft of major artwork from a museum,[1] damaging or destroying mailboxes, immigration offenses, and since 1965, assassinating the President or Vice President, although these were not made federal crimes until after President John F. Kennedy's assassination.[2]

In drug-related federal offenses mandatory minimums can be enforced. A mandatory minimum is a federally regulated minimum sentence for offenses of certain drugs.

Prosecution guidelines are established by the United States Attorney in each federal judicial district and by laws that Congress has already established.


  1. "� 668. Theft of major artwork". Legal Information Institute.
  2. "Attacks on President Now Federal Crime". The New York Times. September 1, 1965. Retrieved 2009-10-05. "A bill that would make killing, kidnapping or attacking a President a Federal crime has been signed by President Johnson."

External links


  1. Wiktionary. Published under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.


1.     lex fori
2.     landed property
3.     salacious
4.     lex situs
5.     lex causae
6.     violent crime
7.     conscionable
8.     family court
9.     leasing
10.     public liability