Mexico's Justice System Explained in a Nutshell
Similar to the U.S. system, criminal activity in Mexico falls under either federal or state jurisdiction, but the Mexican system classifies criminal activity based on who or what isaffected, and where the crime takes place.
All Mexico’s airports, for example, are under federal jurisdiction; hence, any criminal activity that occursin any airport is prosecuted in federal court.
Federal Jurisdiction refers to actions that affect the health, economy and overall national security or interests of the Mexican Federation, including its structure, organization, operation and heritage.
Examples include such actions as attacking public roads, smuggling, tax fraud, environmental crime, drug trafficking and other drug crimes, illegal possession of firearms, illegal audio and video cassettes, theft of property of the nation (i.e., breaching Pemex oil or gas pipelines), money laundering, human trafficking, electoral fraud, theft or damage to archaeological, artistic and historical heritage sites, etc.
District Courts are at the First Level;
State Jurisdiction refers to actions committed between individuals, i.e., those in which the criminal effect falls only on the victim.
Examples include threats, property damage, sexual crimes, fraud and embezzlement, homicide, assault, robbery in all its forms—household, business, cars, etc.
These crimes are under the jurisdiction of the state Public Ministry. They are therefore investigated and prosecuted by the state Public Ministry and tried in state courts.
At the state level is the Juzgado de primera instancia.