eli5 Does crossing state lines make it a worser crime in the US?


Explain like I’m five and foreign, what is the importance of crossing state lines in convictions that they mention it? For example,

22-year-old Matthias Jacob Edward Mann was arrested by the FBI at his family’s home in Hartselle, Alabama Thursday morning. His charges include attempted kidnapping and attempting to entice someone to cross state lines to commit a sexual crime.

In: 3

Crossing state lines during the commission of a crime elevates it from a state crime to a federal crime. Once it becomes a federal offense then the FBI has jurisdiction and you’re most definitely fucked.

Crossing state lines in some cases gives the federal government the authority to step in because of the interstate commerce clause of the US constitution.

So if you steal something of little value you’ve committed a state crime and it will be a misdemeanor. If it’s of high value it can become a felony. But if you take the item across state lines and sell it you open up the possibility that you could be charged with federal crimes.

The $ amount of the crime determines if it’s a misdemeanor verses a felony and that differs from state to state.

For many crimes, each state is like its own little bubble of laws and law enforcement. If you live in Dallas and commit a crime in Dallas then you’re “only” breaking state laws. There are some exceptions to this, for instance, if you vandalize or steal from federally protected properties (banks, FBI offices, stuff like that) then you’d face federal criminal charges.

Once you start crossing state lines, you run the risk of violating *federal* laws — laws that are set by the federal government (the highest level of government in the country). It all depends on what the nature of the crime is.

As soon as you cross state lines in the commission of a crime, that crime comes under Federal jurisdiction, meaning you’re now subject to attention from the FBI. It doesn’t make the crime itself worse per se, but it *does* mean that there are way more law enforcement resources up against you, and which is *considerably* less likely to be willing to cut you a plea deal.

In general the states are responsible for enforcing their own laws within their own boarders. However each state is their own jurisdiction which make it hard for the states to enforce crimes which take place in multiple states. So the Constitution gives the federal government authority in these cases. And in general the federal law is more strict then the state law, at least when it comes to sentencing. This is because crimes which take place across multiple states tends to be more serious then local crimes.