Criminal Offenses on Federal Property

Criminal Offenses on Federal Property

Jul 11
Criminal Offenses on Federal Property

Driving a car can easily become an unpleasant task to some drivers due to pokey or slow-moving pedestrians or the sudden presence of a volume of pedestrians, parking cars, emergency vehicles, delivery trucks, city buses and taxicabs, detours, road constructions and long traffic signals.

Losing patience because of slow-moving traffic is what often causes a number of drivers to drive and maneuver their vehicles recklessly, just to get ahead of everyone else. Reckless driving does not only happen on busy streets or main thoroughfares, though, but even inside parking lots. In fact, in some states, the following acts are considered reckless driving:

  • road-racing
  • driving beyond 80 mph;
  • driving at least 20 mph more beyond the posted speed limit;
  • overtaking a school bus;
  • overtaking an ambulance or an emergency vehicle;
  • failing to use signal lights for proper traffic signals;
  • improper maneuvering or driving above speed limit in parking areas; and,
  • overtaking another vehicle in a one lane road.


Reckless driving, which is a serious traffic violation in the U.S., is defined in U.S. laws as a display of wanton disregard for road safety and road safety rules. “Wanton disregard,” is described as awareness of the possible risk or harm that one can cause personally and the deliberate act of ignoring such risk or harm.

Reckless driving is considered a misdemeanor (if resulting to injury or death, it can be elevated to class 1 misdemeanor or felony, depending on the laws of a state). The punishments usually associated with it are imprisonment and/or fine, suspension or revocation of driver’s license, cancellation of parole, possible deportation and a misdemeanor criminal record.

If the offense, however, is committed in Federal territories, such as those located in the state of Virginia, like the George Washington Parkway, military bases, Quantico area, Pentagon area, and other Northern Virginia Federal government facilities, then the penalties will surely be much harsher. The penalties can include a fine that can amount to $5,000.00, up to 6 months imprisonment, suspension of driver’s license and driving privileges, and points on one’s driver’s license.

Reckless driving in federal territories is not the only offense considered as a federal crime. As explained by Truslow & Truslow, Attorneys at Law, “Generally, crimes are investigated and prosecuted according to the jurisdiction they take place in. As such, most illegal acts are prosecuted on a state or municipal level. However, crimes that take place on federal property automatically become a case for federal courts, even if they would have been state-prosecuted had the crimes not taken place on federal grounds. For example, federal crimes are not only composed of serious illegal acts like drug charges or financial fraud, but they also include crimes such as robbery, theft of government equipment, possession or sale of government property, and criminal trespass. As long as the crime took place on federal property, it can be tried by federal courts and—in some cases—may be prosecuted on both a state and federal level.

Penalties for federal crimes tend to be harsher than those prosecuted on the state level, often including mandatory minimum sentences and, sometimes, negative publicity that can affect the outcome of your case. Additionally, the rules for trials in federal court are different from those of state courts. This means individuals charged with crimes on federal property will need a lawyer who is knowledgeable of these differences. If you have been charged with a criminal offense on federal property, consulting with a well-versed federal court defense attorney that can defend your case may be one of the most important decisions you make.”

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