15 Sep 23

Understanding Differences Between Postal Crimes and Federal Crimes

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Last Updated on: 25th September 2023, 05:52 pm

Understanding Differences Between Postal Crimes and Federal Crimes

Hey there! If you’re trying to understand the differences between postal crimes and federal crimes, you’ve come to the right place. This stuff can be super confusing, but I’m gonna break it down nice and simple so it makes sense.

First up – what exactly are postal crimes? Postal crimes are crimes that involve the mail system and postal service. Some examples:

  • Mail theft
  • Mail fraud
  • Identity theft using mail
  • Sending illegal stuff through the mail

So basically, any crime that uses or targets the mail system. Got it? Good.

Now, what are federal crimes? Federal crimes are crimes that break federal laws, not state or local laws. Federal crimes include:

  • Bank robbery
  • Kidnapping
  • Counterfeiting
  • Drug trafficking
  • Child pornography
  • Cybercrimes

The key thing is that federal crimes violate federal laws that apply across the whole country. State and local laws only apply in certain areas.

Postal Inspectors Investigate Postal Crimes

When it comes to investigating postal crimes, that job belongs to the postal inspectors. Postal inspectors are federal law enforcement agents who work for the United States Postal Inspection Service. They have jurisdiction over all crimes involving the mail system or postal service.

So if someone’s stealing mail from mailboxes or running a mail fraud scheme, the postal inspectors are the ones who will investigate. They have a ton of legal authority to enforce federal laws related to the mail system.

Most Postal Crimes Are Federal Crimes

Now here’s an important point – most postal crimes are also federal crimes. For example, mail theft and mail fraud violate federal laws enforced by postal inspectors. So if you commit a postal crime, you’re most likely breaking federal law too.

That means postal inspectors often work with other federal agencies like the FBI and Department of Justice to investigate and prosecute postal crimes. Different agencies provide different expertise and resources.

But Not All Federal Crimes Are Postal Crimes

On the flip side, not all federal crimes are postal crimes. As we saw earlier, federal crimes include things like robbery, kidnapping, counterfeiting, etc. These crimes don’t necessarily involve the mail, so they aren’t postal crimes.

For example, if someone robs a bank, that’s a federal crime investigated by the FBI. But it’s not a postal crime because it doesn’t involve the mail system. Make sense?

Postal Crimes Have Extra Defenses

Here’s another key difference – postal crimes allow for some unique defenses that other federal crimes don’t. For example, let’s say someone is accused of mailing illegal drugs.

They could argue they didn’t know the package contained drugs. Or that they mailed the package for someone else and didn’t know what was inside. These “lack of knowledge” defenses can work for postal crimes in some cases.

But they probably wouldn’t fly for a non-postal federal crime like drug trafficking. So the mail element allows some special defenses that wouldn’t apply otherwise.

Punishments Vary Too

One last difference – punishments for postal crimes vs. federal crimes can vary too. Postal crimes often come with lighter sentences than other federal crimes.

For example, mail theft may get you 1-3 years in prison. But bank robbery can get up to 20 years. So while postal crimes are federal crimes, the specific punishments are tailored to the mail context.

Alright, that covers the big differences between postal crimes and federal crimes! Let me know if you have any other questions. This stuff can be confusing but I’m happy to explain.

Stay out of trouble and don’t commit any crimes, postal or otherwise!