Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyer, Cook County defense lawyerHate crimes are a very serious offense, which could cost you your overall quality of life. When faced with a hate crime, there are many unwanted consequences that could decrease the chance of obtaining employment and relationships with loved ones. Hate crimes can be violent in nature, and can cause serious injury or even death to others.

What Is a Hate Crime?

Hate itself is not necessarily a crime. However, a hate crime is defined as any type of crime, such as murder, arson, or vandalism, but with an added element of bias. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), a hate crime is when a person commits a criminal offense against someone else or other property due to the offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, gender and gender identity, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.

Hate crimes have a devastating impact on families and communities, and individuals who commit such crimes are perceived to promote hatred and intolerance. Every year, the FBI investigates hundreds of cases that relate to hate crimes.

The Increase in Hate Crimes

In 2015, there were approximately 5,800 hate crimes that had been reported. One year later, in 2016, as many as 6,100 hate crimes that had been reported. Nearly six out of ten hate crimes were committed out of due bias against the other person’s race or ethnicity. There was also an increase in hate crimes over the past few years against certain religious groups, as well as certain identity groups, including the LGBT community.

Hate crimes against a certain race or ethnical background have risen from about 3,310 crimes in 2015 to 3,489 crimes one year later. About 50 percent of all of those crimes consisted of racism against a certain group. One out of five individuals affected were targeted because of their religion, and one out of six people affected were so due to their sexual orientation.

Call a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney

If you or someone you know has been convicted of a hate crime, it is best to seek legal representation. At the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel, we will do what it takes to protect your rights. For over 28 years, our seasoned Chicago federal criminal defense attorneys have provided effective legal representation to our Cook County area clients in hate crime matters, and we are ready to assist you with your unique case. To schedule a free initial consultation, please call 312-629-0669 today.


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Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyer, Cook County defense lawyerThe majority of people know that illegal drugs can be especially harmful to their bodies. Being charged with a drug crime, such as possession of cocaine, is a very serious offense, which can have an adverse effect on your future employment opportunities, relationships with loved ones, and your health, to name a few. To be better educated on the negative effects of drugs, it is best to understand how drugs affect your body.

What Is Cocaine and What Is Its Effects on the Body?

Cocaine is an illegal drug that can be snorted, smoked, or injected. Within seconds, this drug will affect the brain and major organs. When cocaine is used, the user’s pupils will dilate due to increased serotonin levels in the brain. The user’s heart rate and blood pressure will increase, and the blood vessels will constrict, making the user start to feel warm. As the arteries constrict, blood flow may be blocked and could potentially cause a heart attack to occur.

Continuously snorting cocaine may cause holes in the septum between the airways in the nose, and smoking the illegal drug may cause permanent damage to the lungs. Also, the nasal passages may dry out after use of cocaine, potentially causing nosebleeds and other problems with the nose. If cocaine is used for a long period of time, then the body’s ability to lose fat may be reduced.

Intense euphoria may result after the use of cocaine, due to blocking the brain’s absorption of hormones dopamine and serotonin. The user’s appetite may disappear, and he or she may experience cravings for more cocaine when reminded of people or places where he or she may have gotten high. In terms of feelings and emotions, the user may either feel energized and happy, or paranoid, nervous, and irritable.

Overall, a high from cocaine typically lasts anywhere from five minutes to 30 minutes.

Call a Chicago Drug Crime Defense Lawyer

If you or someone you know has been convicted of a drug crime, whether that is simply for possession of drugs, or the offense is for manufacturing and distributing drugs, you should seek legal representation right away. At the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel, we understand your rights and we will work tirelessly to protect them. Our seasoned Chicago federal crimes defense attorneys have represented Cook County area clients for over 28 years in drug crime defense matters, so you are guaranteed effective legal representation. To schedule a free initial consultation, please call 312-629-0669 to discuss your case.


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Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyer, Cook County defense lawyerWe are now approaching tax season, and many of us are not looking forward to getting them filed. Over the past few years, since the evolution of technology, the number of people affected by identity theft has increased, and that number, unfortunately, continues to grow. Identity theft has been shown to affect tax documents and pertinent information, and individuals filing their taxes during the season may face serious issues because of the type of theft that had occurred.

Ways the IRS Has Tried to Combat Identity Theft

To combat the ever-growing issue of identity theft and how it can adversely affect tax information, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) created a way for individuals to be better protected from identity theft. This tool was called the Identity Protection PIN (IP PIN), and, in 2016, the IRS suspended the tool because of a potential security breach. The IP PIN was supposed to be used for individuals affected by identity theft and fraudulent tax returns so that they could have their own personal identification number (PIN) that would confirm their identity before a tax return would be filed. The tax return would be rejected if the PIN was entered incorrectly.

Identity thieves started taking PIN numbers from those already affected, causing the suspension of the tool. In 2014, a number of individuals who had been affected by identity theft had tried to use their IP PIN to file their tax returns, but could not do so because of the security breach. The IRS had discovered and ended 800 fraudulent returns using a stolen IP PIN or fraudulent tax return.

Identity thieves are always changing their strategies of obtaining sensitive information, and the IP PIN was the strongest tactic that the IRS had created, which was severely compromised.

Call a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney

Being charged with identity theft is a very serious crime that comes with unwanted consequences. If taxes are involved, then there are many problems that both you and the taxpayer will have to face. If you have been accused of identity theft, that could potentially cause serious damage to tax information, you need legal representation. At the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel, we understand how being charged with a crime can affect your employment opportunities, your relationships, and quality of life. To schedule a free consultation, please call an experienced Chicago federal crimes defense lawyer at 312-629-0669 to discuss your case.


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Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyer, Cook County defense lawyerSex crimes are horrific in nature and can cost the person committing the crime and the person affected by the crime severe consequences. What many people do not know about sex crimes is that there are many myths attached. No incident of a sex crime is the same, and each person who commits this crime has a different mindset and way of committing the act. However, being charged with a sex crime is serious and may come with unwanted consequences.

What to Know about Sex Crimes

There is a huge misconception that most or all sex crimes are committed by strangers. While this may be true in some incidents, most sex crimes are committed by a family member, friend, significant other, spouse, or other trusted individual. Although most males are held accountable for sex crimes, females have also been responsible for these types of crimes. Even though there may be some children who have been sexually assaulted will grow up to sexually assault others, the majority of offenders were not sexually assaulted at a young age.

Most sexual offenses are committed by adults; however, there have been many incidents where adolescents have committed sexual offenses.

Another huge myth includes the idea that sexual offenders spontaneously attack when they see a vulnerable target. This may sometimes be true, but, most of the time, sexual offenders will spend time creating a level of authority and trust over his or her chosen target, and this time will be spent “grooming” the target for sexual relations.

Many people believe that sex crimes are often reported and the person who commits the offense will be charged. Unfortunately, on the contrary to common belief, the majority of sex crimes are not reported. If a sexual crime is not reported, then the crime itself cannot be prosecuted.

Call a Chicago Sex Crime Defense Attorney

Sex crimes are very serious, and committing the crime can cost you future employment opportunities, connections with your family, relationships with your loved ones, and your overall quality of life. If you or someone you know has been accused of any type of sex crimes, you can count on the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel to provide effective legal representation, as our experienced Illinois criminal defense attorneys have represented Chicago and Cook County area clients for over 28 years in sexual assault and sexual violence matters. For a free initial consultation, please call 312-629-0669 to discuss your case.


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