Interviewer: If someone has a felony conviction and they are subsequently caught with a firearm illegally, does that constitute a felony and a federal offense?
David: A felony is defined as a criminal offense that is punishable by a specific length of incarceration. If the penalty for the crime consists of one year or less of incarceration, then it is considered to be a misdemeanor offense. If the penalty is greater than one year of incarceration, then the offense constitutes a felony.
Federal Offenses Can Be Non-Felony Offenses
That is what really defines what is or is not a felony. There are felony and non-felony federal offenses. For example, I recently handled a case where a couple was on one of the beaches here in Florida that was on a portion of federal land. It was associated with one of the Air Force bases.
They got into an argument with one another and allegedly exchanged physical violence. Federal authorities who were in the area then charged one of them with having committed a battery on federal property.
That is a federal offense, but it is not a felony, yet you will still deal with that in federal court. That particular offense was actually prosecuted by a Judge Advocate General Officer with the Air Force, an Air Force JAG officer.
Ultimately, we were able to get the case dismissed, but nonetheless you can imagine one’s surprise to find out there offense is a federal crime because it occurred occurred on federal property.