If you are facing criminal charges for an act that is legal under one jurisdiction, but illegal under another, you may want to review the Constitution’s Preemption Doctrine. It can help you better understand your situation, and perhaps even develop a stronger defense to avoid the maximum penalties if ultimately convicted.
Continue reading to learn about the Preemption Doctrine, and how it may apply to your criminal case.
The Preemption Doctrine
The Preemption Doctrine stems from the United States Constitution. It is specifically derived from the Supremacy Clause, which states, “Constitution and the laws of the United States (…) shall be the supreme law of the land (…) anything in the constitutions or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.”
So what does this mean in common language? It means that any federal law can override any conflicting state law. Basically, states cannot pass any laws that violate our rights outlined in the U.S. Constitution, otherwise, federal judiciaries can overturn the law for being unconstitutional. On the other hand, there are some exceptions.
You see, if any law provides citizens more rights or imposes more responsibility, such law will prevail. But if state and federal laws blatantly conflict with one another, we go back to the Supremacy Clause which states that federal law will always prevail. Here are some examples that will help you understand who it works: