The Florida State Legislature and the U.S. Congress enact criminal laws. In states having a common law system, state courts make criminal law based on the common law (judge-made law) inherited from England. The current trend in Florida is to transfer the development of criminal law from the court to the legislature.
State Criminal Laws
Traditionally, crime is considered a matter of state rather than federal concern. Because of this, most ordinary crimes are covered by state criminal laws. For example, a domestic violence crime, or theft case that took place within the state, committed by local residents, is covered by state criminal laws, and ordinarily will be prosecuted by local prosecutors.
Federal Criminal Laws
Congress does enact criminal laws in areas falling within the federal jurisdiction set out in the U.S. Constitution and concerning federal matters. Congress has enacted federal laws dealing with federal property, federal employees, federal taxes, receipt of federal benefits, and federally guaranteed civil rights. For example, it is a federal crime to rob a U.S. Post Office or to assault a federal employee.
Additionally, there are significant federal criminal laws covering matters dealing with interstate commerce. If interstate commerce is involved, these laws make ordinary criminal conduct covered by state laws a federal crime. Interstate commerce may involve the use of interstate means of communication (telephone, telegraph, or the U.S. Mail) in committing the crime.
If a person is convicted of a federal crime, he/she the court will sentence the defendant pursuant to the federal sentencing guidelines.