Most residents of California have at least a basic knowledge of the laws of their home state. However, there are so many permutations of some laws and such a wide range of offenses to understand that very few people know the law inside out. Furthermore, state and federal laws do not always match up, so you could find that something that receives fairly minor penalties at the state level could be punished far more harshly at the federal level.
The level at which an offense is tried can depend on several factors. For example, laws on stalking vary dramatically from one state to the next. While it is still considered a crime, in some states it is classed alongside harassment, while in others it is a separate offense. However, interstate stalking is classed separately again, being considered a federal crime.
Furthermore, the offense does not need to be carried out in person. Stalking someone via the Internet, for example, through their emails, forums or even other methods of communication such as their text messages is known as cyberstalking. As this article on criminal charges explains, using the Internet to make threats of violence or kidnapping is also a breach of federal law.
Federal charges are a serious matter and often carry extremely severe penalties for conviction. If you are faced with charges of this nature, you may be wondering what to do or where to turn. Fortunately, an attorney may be able to help you. With the right guidance, you may be able to negotiate a plea deal or even form a successful defense and avoid conviction altogether.