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b2ap3_thumbnail_chicago-hate-crime-defense-lawyer.jpgA man suspected of shooting and killing ten black individuals in a Buffalo grocery store in March was recently formally charged with multiple weapons violations and federal hate crimes. Many people understand the general concept of a hate crime, but do not fully understand what a hate crime is and when they can face charges for a hate crime. Hate crimes can be classified as both state-level offenses and federal offenses. Federal hate crime charges are punishable by severe, life-changing penalties. If you or a loved one were accused of committing a hate crime, contact a hate crime defense lawyer immediately.

Hate Crimes are Crimes Motivated by Bias Against Certain Groups

The term “hate crime” can be confusing because many violent offenses are motivated by anger or hate. According to federal law, a hate crime is one that is committed against someone because of the person’s race, national origin, sex, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability. The crime could be motivated by the person’s actual race, religion, gender, or another characteristic, or the perceived characteristic.

Hate crimes are often violent offenses like assault or murder. However, threats of violence, arson, vandalism, and other offenses may also be considered hate crimes. Conspiracy to commit a hate crime can also lead to federal criminal charges.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_chicago-immigration-fraud-lawyer.jpgIllegal immigration continues to be a controversial topic in the United States. Many people seek residency and citizenship in the United States and ensuring that people come to the U.S. legally is a top priority for many government agencies. Accusations of immigration fraud often lead to federal criminal charges punishable by harsh penalties. Both immigrants and U.S. citizens can find themselves facing immigration fraud charges.

If you or a loved one were accused of marrying someone solely for the purposes of getting them a visa, identity fraud, or another type of immigration fraud, contact a federal criminal defense attorney immediately. Do not talk to the police until your attorney is present.

Marriage Immigration Fraud

One of the most common types of immigration fraud is marriage immigration fraud. In the internet age, people across the globe from each other can meet online and fall in love without ever meeting face to face. However, some people in this situation find themselves accused of immigration fraud.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_chicago-federal-crimes-attorney_20220603-142742_1.jpgFederal charges are often penalized more harshly than state level offenses. If you are convicted of a federal offense, you may be sentenced to years or even decades in prison. Federal wire fraud charges can be penalized by up to 20 years in prison and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines. If the fraud harmed a financial institution or involves a presidentially-declared emergency, the prison sentence can be up to 30 years.

If you or a loved one were charged with wire fraud, contact a federal criminal defense lawyer for help right away.

Federal Law on Wire Fraud

According to federal law, wire fraud occurs when:

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b2ap3_thumbnail_chicago-federal-crimes-lawyer_20220531-142824_1.jpgIf you find yourself charged with a federal crime, you might be wondering how your charge compares to a similar charge at the state level. There is some bad news - federal charges are typically a much more serious matter than state-level charges. Federal charges often lead to harsher sentencing, and you are less likely to receive a favorable plea bargain. This is partly because federal judges and prosecutors have less discretion than prosecutors and judges at the state level. If your offense carries a lot of prison time, you will probably serve quite a bit of it should you be convicted or plead guilty. White-collar offenders can expect no special treatment in federal courts, regardless of their position in society prior to the charge. If you are facing federal charges, it is important that you immediately retain a skilled federal criminal defense attorney. Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel LLC, Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney has over 20 years of criminal defense experience at the federal level. 

Why Are Federal Charges More Serious Than State Charges?

There are a number of reasons that you should be more concerned about federal charges than state charges. For many white-collar offenders, a federal prosecution is their first interaction with the criminal justice system. A few things you should know about your federal charges include: 

  • Less discretion - At the state level, prosecutors have significant discretion in negotiating plea bargains. It is common for more serious offenses to be reduced or eliminated in the interest of avoiding a trial. State judges also have significant discretion in sentencing. Unless an offense carries a mandatory minimum sentence, there is a chance that a state judge will use alternative sentencing, like probation or house arrest. Federal judges, however, are bound by strict sentencing guidelines so you are less likely to avoid prison time. 

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b2ap3_thumbnail_chicago-federal-defense-lawyer.jpgOpioid addiction is a national epidemic. It spans the entire country, and Chicago is no exception. Individuals who are caught trafficking illegally obtained prescription drugs may be subject to state or federal prosecution. Doctors who distribute narcotics outside the scope of their normal, reasonable medical practice may be subject to prosecution for federal drug crimes as well. It is a federal felony to knowingly and intentionally hand out opioid prescriptions when it is not for a legitimate medical purpose. While a large number of known “pill mills” were taken down years ago when the opioid epidemic first became a known problem, there are still doctors who attempt to discreetly continue prescribing opioids to individuals they know are likely to resell or abuse them. 

That said, it can be difficult for federal investigators to fully determine whether or not a prescription for narcotics is based on a patient’s genuine need for relief from legitimate pain. If you are a doctor and believe that you may be under scrutiny for prescribing narcotics, it is important that you reach out to an attorney as soon as possible. 

What “Red Flags” Can Make the DEA Suspicious of a Doctor Who Prescribes Narcotics?

When a doctor routinely prescribes opioid pain medicine, there are certain signs that may invite suspicion from the DEA. However, it can be difficult for someone who is not a doctor to determine whether a certain patient or group of patients legitimately needs these medications. The presence of one or more signs could lead to an investigation, during which you will absolutely want to be represented by an attorney. Signs that may make the DEA suspect prescription drug fraud include: 

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