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Loudoun County Attorneys > Blog > Criminal Defense > Common Interstate Crimes

Common Interstate Crimes


There are many different kinds of federal offenses, including interstate crimes. Most of the crimes that come to mind when we think of crimes, like homicide, robbery, or larceny, are generally state crimes, which means that the state is the one doing the prosecuting. However, there are some crimes and offenses that the federal government can charge people with. Federal offenses include white collar crimes and some drug and weapons crimes. Since the federal government has administrative agencies like the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, they are well suited to be the ones that prosecute these kinds of crimes. Another kind of crime that the federal government has jurisdiction over are interstate crimes. Interstate crimes are, not surprisingly, crimes where aspects of the crime cross state lines. Since the crimes take place in more than one state, the federal government needs to step in to prosecute the crime. Some crimes are much more likely to be interstate crimes than others, especially crimes that involve transporting as part of the crime, such as human trafficking, drug trafficking, and kidnapping.

Human Trafficking

According to the Department of Homeland Security, human trafficking is “modern-day slavery and involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act.” Human trafficking is a serious crime and covers coercion, involuntary servitude, debt bondage, and commercial sex acts.

In 2000, the federal government passed the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) which establishes human trafficking as a federal crime and includes provisions to help prevent human trafficking. The TVPA has been reauthorized several times since then including most recently in 2013, though another bill that adds protections to human trafficking victims was signed into law in 2015. Anyone that assists in human trafficking in any way can be fined a special fee of $5,000.

The penalties for the federal crime of human trafficking depends on the age of those trafficked and the circumstances, but can be up to life in prison with at least 10 or 15 years in prison if the victim is a minor.

Drug Trafficking

Drug trafficking involves the transport of large quantities of illegal drugs, often across state lines. Even for a first offense, the penalty is five to 40 years in prison. If the crime results in death or serious bodily injury, then the penalty is at least 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $5 million for individuals.


Kidnapping is a serious crime and is a federal offense if it crosses state lines. Kidnapping is when someone takes another person against their will. Parents can be found guilty of kidnapping their own children under circumstances where they do not have a legal right to take the child somewhere but do it anyway. The federal offense of kidnapping is a felony and sentences can be up to 20 years or more.

Reach Out to Our Attorneys for Help Today

If you are charged with an interstate offense or other federal crime, you should have knowledgeable federal crimes defense attorneys on your side. Our experienced federal crimes attorneys at Simms Showers, LLP in Leesburg, Virginia, can help you to present the best defense against your charges.

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