What Are the Most Commonly Prosecuted Federal Crimes?

Federal prosecutions are generally more serious than prosecutions carried out at the state level. Although any type of criminal charge should be taken seriously, federal crimes often carry harsh sentences. If you are facing a federal prosecution, you need the help and experience of a federal criminal defense lawyer.

Not all criminal defense attorneys have tried cases in federal court. At Broden & Mickelsen, our Texas criminal defense attorneys routinely handle cases in the Texas federal courts.

There are many different federal statutes, and federal charges range from white collar crimes to drug-related offenses. However, certain offenses tend to appear regularly in the federal criminal courts. We have listed the top four federal prosecutions per data from the National Criminal Justice Reference Service.


Immigration is a hot topic in the United States, especially with the presidential election on the horizon. Many people are surprised to learn that immigration cases make up a significant percentage of federal prosecutions. Immigration-related prosecutions are also growing at a higher rate than any other federal criminal offense. In 2011, federal prosecutors handled almost 30,000 immigration cases. Over the past 10 years, immigration prosecutions have skyrocketed, increasing by 153 percent.

Drug Charges

Drug cases can be prosecuted at the state level, but they can also end up in federal court. In some cases, federal agents make the arrest, which propels the case into federal court. In other cases, local law enforcement cooperates with federal authorities, and the case makes its way into federal court that way. Drug cases involve the transportation of drugs across state lines, or the distribution and manufacture of large quantities of drugs are also prosecuted in federal court.

Drug-related convictions have caused the U.S. prison population to explode over the past few decades. Overcrowding in prisons has even prompted lawmakers to change sentencing guidelines for drug-related convictions. For example, in 2015, the U.S. Sentencing Commission issued new rules for drug-related convictions, which led to a release of 6,000 federal inmates.

Weapons Crimes

Weapons-related convictions in federal court often result in lengthy prison sentences. Data from the U.S. Department of Justice reveals that 93 percent of individuals convicted of weapons-related crimes in federal court received a prison sentence. Individuals convicted of crimes that did not involve a weapon received a prison sentence just 72 percent of the time.

White Collar Crimes

White collar offenses, such as fraud and money-related crimes, are generally regarded by the public as less serious than violent offenses like sexual assault and weapons-related crimes. However, financial crimes have received a great deal of attention in recent years. The federal government has cracked down on widespread fraud carried out by corporate officials, businesses, and various organizations.

Contact a Texas Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer about Your Case

The federal criminal defense attorneys at Clint Broden can help you fight back against federal charges. Give us a call today to learn how we can help you. Contact us or call 214-720-9552. You can also reach us through our online contact form.

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SOURCE: Broden & Mickelsen

Mick Mickelsen is a nationally recognized criminal trial attorney with more than 30 years of experience defending people charged with white-collar crimes, drug offenses, sex crimes, murder, and other serious state and federal offenses.