What Are the Most Common Federal Crimes?

Federal crimes are those that violate U.S. government laws, are committed across state or country borders, or are committed on federal property. Some are carried out more often than others.

Below are the most common federal crimes:

  • Immigration offenses: According to the United States Sentencing Commission, in 2018, just over 34% of federal crimes involved some type of immigration offense. These included crimes committed by both U.S. citizens and non-U.S. citizens. Some of the more commonly committed immigration offenses included improper entry into the U.S., unlawful presence in the U.S., and alien smuggling. The penalties varied depending on the specifics on the case, but on average, those convicted were sentenced to just over 1-year imprisonment.
  • Drug offenses: In 2018, the second most committed federal crimes were those involving controlled substances. Many crimes included manufacture, sale, or transportation of drugs, while a smaller portion concerned drug possession. Methamphetamine, heroin, and marijuana accounted for most of the cases (65%). Many of the people convicted of a drug offense were subject to mandatory minimum sentences, with the average length of imprisonment ranging from 29 months (for marijuana trafficking offenses) to 95 months (for methamphetamine-related crimes).
  • Firearm offenses: In 2018, nearly 11% of federal crimes involved firearms. Many involved illegally possessing a firearm or ammunition, unlawfully transporting explosives, carrying a firearm in a prohibited area (such as a federal building, school, or airplane), using a firearm or explosive while committing a felony, and using a firearm or ammunition during a crime. A majority of firearm offenses, just under 70%, were committed by a felon prohibited from having a gun. In many cases, the person convicted of a firearm offense was subject to a mandatory minimum penalty. For instance, of those found guilty of a drug trafficking crime involving the use of a firearm, 62% were sentenced to a mandatory 5-year prison sentence. Other offenders received a 7-year mandatory minimum (21.8%) or a 10-year or more mandatory minimum (almost 16%).
  • Economic crimes: According to the United States Sentencing Commission, 9.5% of federal offenses committed during 2018 were economic crimes. These include offenses that fall under the umbrella terms "fraud," "theft," or "embezzlement." Such crimes include property destruction, insider trading, burglary, robbery, extortion, bribery, counterfeiting, and copyright. As with other federal offenses, the conviction penalties for these crimes are severe. For instance, taking property belonging to the U.S. can result in a 15-year prison sentence. The penalties for copyright infringement can include imprisonment for up to 5 years and a fine of up to $250,000.

Federal crimes are harshly prosecuted and carry lengthy prison sentences and steep fines. A person accused of any offense must act quickly and secure effective counsel. These are often complex matters that require a thorough understanding of criminal defense law as well as the intricate federal judicial processes.

For the aggressive defense you need in Fort Lauderdale, call Hager & Schwartz, P.A. at (954) 840-8713 or contact us online. We will fight toward a favorable outcome on your behalf.