What is the Difference Between a Nevada State and Federal Crime?

Posted by Neil Shouse | Jul 02, 2015 | 0 Comments

What is the difference between a state and federal crime? The U.S. Constitution allows states the power to govern themselves. However if there is a matter that concerns national welfare, then federal law prevails.

State v. Federal Crime

The state of Nevada will have jurisdiction over defendants who violate Nevada state laws. Federal laws come into play when a crime has been committed that is in direct violation of federal statutes. Sometimes, a crime is illegal according to both state and federal law, which is called concurrent jurisdiction. If there is a conflict between the two, federal law will prevail under the Supremacy Clause in the US Constitution.

Federal Crimes in Nevada

The federal government has jurisdiction over defendants that commit crimes on federal property, or crimes that cross state lines. Also certain crimes are exclusively within federal jurisdiction such as federal taxes, the Post Office, the military, immigration and customs. (Read our article about how a Washoe County robbery can be a federal offense.)

Interstate Commerce

The federal government has jurisdiction over matters concerning interstate commerce. This involves doing business across state lines, and encompasses trucking, mail, phone use and television.


When prosecuting a case, state and federal prosecutions are largely the same. However the sheer quantity of paperwork and time involved in litigating a case will be different. Federal cases are characteristically slower, and the scope of the investigation will be much greater. This is because with federal law, the prosecutors are looking at a more all-encompassing view of the crime, while a state court is usually dealing with local and state police.


Calculating penalties in state and federal court are done differently. With federal matters, “The Federal Sentencing Guidelines” are used to arrive at a sentence. State crimes are calculated according state legislation and guidelines.

About the Author

Neil Shouse

Southern California DUI Defense attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT).


There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment

Comments have been disabled.

Free attorney consultations...

Our attorneys want to hear your side of the story. Contact us 24/7 to schedule a FREE consultation with a criminal defense lawyer. We may be able to get your charges reduced or even dismissed altogether. And if necessary, we will champion your case all the way to trial.

Office Locations

Shouse Law Group has multiple locations all across California, Nevada, and Colorado. Click Office Locations to find out which office is right for you.

Regain peace of mind...

Our defense attorneys understand that being accused of a crime is one of the most difficult times of your life. Rely on us to zealously and discreetly protect your rights and to fight for the most favorable resolution possible.

To contact us, please select your state:

Call us 24/7 (855) 396-0370