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An overview of federal sex crimes

Many of our New Jersey readers probably know that the vast majority of criminal cases are heard in state court. However, any New Jersey criminal defense attorney would be able to tell our readers that there are quite a few instances in which a person could be charged in federal court for a criminal offense. Sex crimes, for example, is one area of criminal law in which there are many different types of federal charges.

As is true with many types of federal criminal charges, not just sex crimes, whenever someone is alleged to have crossed state lines in the commission of a criminal offense, there is the possibility that federal criminal charges will be the result. The fact that a certain criminal activity might affect "interstate commerce" is usually the key.

Federal law takes aim at crimes involving child pornography in particular. If someone is alleged to have distributed or transported materials containing child pornography, there is a good chance that the individual will end up in federal court. The actual transportation of a person, especially a minor, for the purpose of engaging in sexual activity, is covered by federal sex crimes law as well.

Besides crossing state lines, most federal sex crimes charges involve some aspect of commercial enterprise. For instance, human trafficking is becoming a hot-button issue in the news media these days. This type of activity seldom takes place without a profit in mind. The one thing that all federal sex crimes charges have in common is this: the potential penalties are extreme. Any New Jersey residents who find themselves facing a sex crime charge in federal court will need to immediately assess their options, because sometimes the options are few and far between.

Source: FindLaw, "Sex Offenders and Sex Offenses: Overview," Accessed Nov. 14, 2014

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