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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Differences in State and Federal Laws

If you are going to court to face criminal charges, it is important to understand how state and federal laws can sometimes be different. This makes a huge difference in the way that you are prosecuted, and it could also make a difference in how you or a lawyer from somewhere like the Law Offices of James P. Hoffman defends your side of things in court. Below are a few examples so that you can see how these things work in realistic cases. Before going to court, make sure that you fully understand the charges that are being leveled against you and what they mean.

First, take a look at ticket scalping laws. These are governed by the states, but there is no federal law against ticket scalping. If you are caught in a state where it is illegal, selling your tickets for more than their value, you could be fined or even put in jail. Other states will not stop you or prosecute you. When it really gets interesting is when you buy tickets and sell them online. This is a form of scalping, but you may live in a state where such a thing is not illegal. You could end up selling them in a state where it is, however, which complicates the process. Since this crosses state lines, it becomes a federal decision, but there is no federal law against it. Therefore, you could be tracked down by the state authorities even though you did not break a federal regulation.

Of course, there are also differences in state laws that can impact you when you physically cross those lines. For instance, it is currently legal to buy marijuana in Colorado and Washington state, but it is illegal in all other states. If you go to Colorado for a vacation, you can purchase it without fear of prosecution. If you then bring it back to Wisconsin or Michigan - or any other state - when you go home, you could be prosecuted if you are caught with it. Just because it was legal for you to buy it does not make it legal to have when you get home.

There are many examples of laws that are different in one place than in another, including laws about gun control or same-sex marriage. Make sure that you understand how the laws in your local area really will impact you.

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