When Spokane residents read or tune in to the local news, they may sometimes hear that a person has been arrested on federal charges. Even if a person is completely unfamiliar with the court system, he or she is likely to know that facing federal charges is a very serious matter. A criminal offense may be a violation of state law or it may violate federal law -- what types of crimes are considered federal offenses?
First, the majority of crimes that people are charged with every day in Washington State are violations of state law. Thus, these cases are tried in state courts. In fact, the only types of cases that are generally not heard in state courts are either specific violations of federal laws or cases in which the United States is a party, among a few others.