Anonymous asked in Politics & GovernmentLaw & Ethics · 1 decade ago

Federal v. State law question?

What happens if a state doesn't have a law that covers a specific crime? Does the federal statute come into play?

10 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    The Federal Statute is ALWAYS 'in play', whether there is a State law against the same thing or not.

    If there is no State law against something it may be because the State have decided not to regulate it, or because the Federal law specifically prohibits them from doing so.

    There are, for example, no State laws governing pension plans. This is because a Federal law called ERISA both applies Federal law to such plans, AND forbids States from passing any more stringent regulation.

    Also, Federal law often covers different areas than State anyway.

    For example, CA has legalized the possession of pot for medical purposes. Since there is no Federal law against the possession of pot, within a single State, someone who has a medical marijuana card cannot be prosecuted for possession of pot in CA. BUT..... there *is* a Federal law that bans the sale of marijuana - so while the individual user cannot be prosecuted under Federal law, the "dispensaries" can, because selling pot is a Federal crime, whatever the State may have chosen to say.


  • Slick
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    You have to be charged federally for the criminal act. A local cop cant arrest you on federal crimes as he only enforced local city, county and state laws. But to answer the question yes if states do not have a local law on a particular crime, and there are many, then you can be charged federally for it.

  • Teekno
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    If something is against federal law but not state law, then yes, you can be tried in a federal court.

  • 1 decade ago

    Even if did, the Federal Law Still applies.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    If the state dose not have a law that covers a specific crime, it may not be illegal.

  • 1 decade ago

    Yes - in a nutshell, Federal law supersedes State law.

  • 1 decade ago

    Federal law supercedes everything. Federal ---> State ---->local.

  • 1 decade ago

    Basically yes, unless that state also has some law or regulation stating that its residents are exempt from prosecution for that crime.

  • It did in California when the DEA raided marijuana clinics.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Yep , it does .

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