Federal laws are always felonies?

This is a discussion on Federal laws are always felonies? within the Law Enforcement, Military & Homeland Security Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I've heard this said again. Is there anything concrete on the internet to prove or disprove this?...

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Thread: Federal laws are always felonies?

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array paramedic70002's Avatar
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    Federal laws are always felonies?

    I've heard this said again. Is there anything concrete on the internet to prove or disprove this?
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  3. #2
    Senior Member Array kb2wji's Avatar
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    Trick question. The federal system does not have an actual "felony" or "misdemeanor". They simply have a set of titles (laws) of which there are different grades. Each title has different grades that are used for sentencing guidelines.

    It can get confusing because you will hear of the feds picking up charges from the state level. They will typically pick up felonies from the state level, but that does not mean it is a felony on the federal level (remember, no such thing as felony or misdemeanor). They take the charge over to the federal side and along with that particular charge it has a set sentencing guideline.

    There is plenty of info online that will say federal offenses are all felonies. It's misleading. They take over state felonies, but once its brought federal, it no longer has that specific designation.

    Most of the time (all of the time that I can think of anyway), a charge that is taken to the federal system would be considered a felony on the state level.

    Hope that helps
    Last edited by kb2wji; August 11th, 2012 at 03:11 AM. Reason: added a sentence to further clear it up

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    Very generally speaking, a felony is a crime for which the punishment is 1 year in prison or longer. A misdemeanor carries a penalty of less than one year in prison. This applies to federal statutes as well.
    Last edited by OPFOR; August 11th, 2012 at 04:26 AM.
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

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    VIP Member Array Crowman's Avatar
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    Not all federal laws are felonies....

    The United States Congress sets the penalties for all federal criminal acts. Thus, Congress decides which criminal acts are felonies and which ones are misdemeanors.
    http://www.justice.gov/usao/ri/ri_fe...l_brochure.pdf

    From the United States Code
    18 USC 3559 - Sentencing classification of offenses
    18 USC 3559 - Sentencing classification of offenses | LII / Legal Information Institute

    Interesting fact:
    Congress passed the first blanket prohibition on felons carrying guns in the Gun Control Act of 1968, which made it illegal for felons to possess a gun any under circumstances.
    Felony Gun Laws - FelonyGuide
    "One of the greatest delusions in the world is the hope that the evils in this world are to be cured by legislation."
    --Thomas B. Reed, American Attorney

    Second Amendment -- Established December 15, 1791 and slowly eroded ever since What happened to "..... shall not be infringed."

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    VIP Member Array Smitty901's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crowman View Post
    Not all federal laws are felonies....

    The United States Congress sets the penalties for all federal criminal acts. Thus, Congress decides which criminal acts are felonies and which ones are misdemeanors.
    http://www.justice.gov/usao/ri/ri_fe...l_brochure.pdf

    From the United States Code
    18 USC 3559 - Sentencing classification of offenses
    18 USC 3559 - Sentencing classification of offenses | LII / Legal Information Institute

    Interesting fact:
    Congress passed the first blanket prohibition on felons carrying guns in the Gun Control Act of 1968, which made it illegal for felons to possess a gun any under circumstances.
    Felony Gun Laws - FelonyGuide
    There you have it. However it is not uncommon for something that was not treated as a felony to be upgrade to one due to current PC.
    They can make anything they want a felony anytime the wish. Both at state and federal level. All the have to do is make a case for it to the public then make the change.

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    VIP Member Array 40Bob's Avatar
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    No,
    8 USC 1325 for example is an administrative offense.
    My rifle and pistol are tools, I am the weapon.

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    Yeah, First Sergeant, I'm not sure where you're getting the idea that anyone can just "make" something a felony. All federal crimes have a "punishable by" portion, which describes the maximum penalty for that offense. If that max penalty is less than one year, it isn't a felony, and no one can just decide to "make" it one by fiat.... I'm a Fed, so I can't speak authoritatively to state/local statutes, but I am fairly certain that they operate under the same or very similar procedures.
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

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    VIP Member Array Crowman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OPFOR View Post
    Yeah, First Sergeant, I'm not sure where you're getting the idea that anyone can just "make" something a felony. All federal crimes have a "punishable by" portion, which describes the maximum penalty for that offense. If that max penalty is less than one year, it isn't a felony, and no one can just decide to "make" it one by fiat.... I'm a Fed, so I can't speak authoritatively to state/local statutes, but I am fairly certain that they operate under the same or very similar procedures.
    Yes you are correct in stating they can't just say something is a felony. However all that has to be done at every level of government is they make a law. As I posted earlier at the federal level Congress can classify whatever they choose as a felony regardless if the maximum penalty is less.

    The United States Congress sets the penalties for all federal criminal acts. Thus, Congress decides which criminal acts are felonies and which ones are misdemeanors.
    http://www.justice.gov/usao/ri/ri_fe...l_brochure.pdf

    From the above PDF: "An offense that is not specifically classified by a letter grade in the section defining it, is classified if the maximum term of imprisonment authorized is—" (and then it lists the classification)

    Example: Congress passes a law that makes it a crime to spit on the sidewalks in DC and states it is a felony then it will be one.
    "One of the greatest delusions in the world is the hope that the evils in this world are to be cured by legislation."
    --Thomas B. Reed, American Attorney

    Second Amendment -- Established December 15, 1791 and slowly eroded ever since What happened to "..... shall not be infringed."

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    VIP Member Array Smitty901's Avatar
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    They have done it many times they just change the wording of the law. They did this with many crimes related to civil rights and voting rights. At one time some were equal to a parking ticket now they are are felony.
    States do the same thing. Many so called gun crimes were not a felony, when the climate changed they just upgrade them to a felony it is not a big deal for them to do it.
    State or federal what is or is not a felony is governed by The current political climate

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    VIP Member Array paramedic70002's Avatar
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    Another thought, because this almost happened to a coworker of mine some years ago -

    She was taking a shortcut back from an ambulance transport to our office. Her shortcut was through a National Park. An LEO ranger pulled her over for speeding and operating a commercial vehicle in the park. He let her off with a warning, but would he have charged her with a "federal" crime or state, and would the case have gone to the Federal courthouse?
    "Each worker carried his sword strapped to his side." Nehemiah 4:18

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    If it occurred in a National Park, and the arrest was by a Federal Agent, then yeah, it would have been a federal crime.

    And First Sergeant, laws cannot be arbitrarily changed. Both the States and the Fed have legislatures who have the responsibility for, well, legislating. That is, they make and modify the laws. A cop, prosecutor, judge, or whoever cannot simply decide on their own that they want to change the punishment for a crime.
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

  13. #12
    VIP Member Array Smitty901's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OPFOR View Post
    If it occurred in a National Park, and the arrest was by a Federal Agent, then yeah, it would have been a federal crime.

    And First Sergeant, laws cannot be arbitrarily changed. Both the States and the Fed have legislatures who have the responsibility for, well, legislating. That is, they make and modify the laws. A cop, prosecutor, judge, or whoever cannot simply decide on their own that they want to change the punishment for a crime.
    They do it all of the time some times it happens quickly other time it takes awhile but they do it often.
    Drunk driving is not now a felony however there are those working on making it one. Some want it to bet the first others the second or third it will happen just a madder of time.
    I watch many minor infarction that when I was young were not felony's that are now simply because of PC.

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    VIP Member Array hogdaddy's Avatar
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    I Know a Dude who got busted on a Military Base Ft Stewart (Federal) & Still hunts there
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smitty901 View Post
    They do it all of the time some times it happens quickly other time it takes awhile but they do it often.
    Drunk driving is not now a felony however there are those working on making it one. Some want it to bet the first others the second or third it will happen just a madder of time.
    I watch many minor infarction that when I was young were not felony's that are now simply because of PC.
    Well....Yes, laws change. I don't think that that is news to anyone. It still requires, well, the law to change. And there are very specific, detailed, and in depth procedures that must be undertaken to change a law. It cannot be done by fiat, or at the whim of anyone other than the duly elected legislature. Your original points seemed to indicate that laws were/are just arbitrarily changed at the drop of a hat, and that is clearly not the case. Nor is it the case - just as clearly - that no laws have been changed, added, or deleted since the founding of our nation....
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

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    Distinguished Member Array Agave's Avatar
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    8 USC 1325 Improper entry by alien. First offense carries a maximum penalty of six months and/or a fine. That's going to be a misdemeanor.
    The preceding post may contain sarcasm; it's just better that way. However, it is still intended with construction and with the Love of my L-rd Y'shua.

    NRA Certified Pistol Instructor, Tennessee Certified Instructor

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