Illionois defense attorney,  Illinois criminal defense lawyerReceiving a federal grand jury subpoena is very frightening. You must take action as soon as possible, as the consequences of doing nothing are great. You may not know whether you are the suspect in a criminal case, or if the federal prosecutor wants to speak to you as a witness. Taking action can help clear this up, and make sure you protect yourself. Below are a few tips that will help you do just that.

Contact the United States Attorney’s Office

After you receive your subpoena, there’s a very good chance that the U.S. Attorney’s Office will know much more about the case than you will. You will need to contact them, but it is likely that they will be very reluctant to discuss the case with you, particularly if you are a suspect in a criminal case. This task should be left to a federal criminal defense attorney that will understand how to handle the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Get the Subpoena Nullified

If the U.S. Attorney’s Office is reluctant to reduce the scope of the subpoena, it may be necessary to try and get the subpoena nullified, which is known as filing a motion to quash. Due to the fact that the U.S. Attorney’s Office has the right to issue grand jury subpoenas without approval, a federal just may limit your testimony or the requirement for you to submit certain documents. Again, you will need an attorney to help with this task.

Prepare Your Testimony or Document Submission

If you do not comply with the subpoena, you may face charges of contempt. To avoid this, you will need to submit a legally-compliant response that answers the subpoena and provides the U.S. Attorney’s Office with what they need.

Assert Your Fifth Amendment Rights

The Fifth Amendment provides you with protection from incriminating yourself. This is a very complicated area, though. The federal courts do not view documents as being protected by the Fifth Amendment. However, if the mere act of supplying those documents is incriminating, it can be argued that producing them is a violation of your rights. The Fifth Amendment also does not protect business entities that are the target of a federal investigation.

File a Motion to Dismiss

Even if the process has gone so far that the grand jury has convened and issued an indictment, there are still measures you can take to protect yourself. An attorney can inform you what these are, and file the motion to dismiss, to give you the ultimate in protection.

Call an Illinois Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer that Can Help

If you have been served a federal grand jury subpoena, the best thing you can do to protect your rights is to speak to a skilled Chicago federal criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. At the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel, we know the steps to take to ensure that a subpoena never goes farther than that. If you have been served with a subpoena, call us today at 312-270-0999 for your free consultation so we can start reviewing your case.


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Illionois defense attorney,  Illinois criminal defense lawyerIt was at the end of October when an Illinois woman was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison after being convicted of drug trafficking. The woman was charged with selling drugs through the mail to a man in South Dakota, who later died after using the heroin he had purchased from her. The story is interesting, as many people know that drug trafficking charges are usually tried at the state level. So, what makes drug trafficking a federal crime?

When Trafficking Charges Become Federal

It is true that much of the time, those facing drug trafficking charges will be prosecuted by their own state. If convicted, they will then likely be sentenced to a number of years in state prison. However, there are certain circumstances that could change state trafficking charges to federal charges. These include:

  • When the quantity of drugs is exceptionally large
  • The arresting officer works for a federal agency
  • The case involves a large amount of money or money laundering
  • The case involves Medicare or Medicaid fraud
  • The case involves illegal prescription schemes within the same state
  • Large amounts of drugs are moved from one jurisdiction to another
  • The case involves a death or deaths outside of the state’s jurisdiction

Given that the woman lived in Illinois and the man that died lived in South Dakota, the last two of these circumstances are likely what caused the woman’s charged to become federal.

The Difference Between State and Federal Charges

It may not seem significant at first if the charges are considered state or federal, but it is. Federal charges typically have much longer and much harsher sentences than state charges for those convicted. Regarding drug trafficking, the penalties will vary depending on the substance in question, the amount of the substance, if there were aggravating factors, and if the defendant has any prior offenses.

For heroin, which is considered a Schedule I drug, a first offense involving up to 100 grams has a minimum mandatory sentence of up to 20 years and a maximum sentence of up to 30 years. The sentences increase as the quantities become larger and the defendant has prior offenses. Cocaine, crack, and meth all have similar sentences, although the amounts associated with those sentences vary.

Along with longer jail sentences, federal drug trafficking charges also typically have much higher fines than charges at the state level. For example, trafficking anywhere between 50 to 99 grams of marijuana carries a federal sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison and a maximum fine of $1 million.

Facing Federal Drug Charges? Call Our Illinois Federal Defense Lawyer

Federal drug charges are very serious and carry very harsh consequences. To avoid these, speak to our skilled Chicago criminal defense attorney today. At the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel, our attorney has the necessary experience to build you a solid defense and give you the best chance of beating the charges. If you have been charged, call us at 312-270-0999 or contact us online for your free consultation so we can get started reviewing your case.


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Illionois defense attorney,  Illinois criminal defense lawyerAntitrust law is an umbrella term for a number of federal laws that are intended to keep businesses operating fairly and honestly. These laws regulate the way companies do business, leveling the playing field and ensuring no one business has too much power. Within antitrust law, a trust is considered a group of businesses that form together to create a monopoly or otherwise control the free market. Some of the most important pieces of legislation in the United State that outline antitrust laws are the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, the Interstate Commerce Act, the Interstate Commerce Act, the Federal Trade Commission Act, and the Clayton Act.

Antitrust Laws and Monopolies

It is true that antitrust laws prohibit companies from creating monopolies, which leave consumers without any choice and force them to purchase from one company or group of companies. However, these laws do not prevent companies from controlling a large share of the market, as long as they do so through honest and fair means. When determining whether or not a certain practice is unfair, the courts will use the rule of reason test. This test considers the effect of the business’ decisions on the market.

Who Enforces Antitrust Laws?

To enforce antitrust laws, federal agencies such as the Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice file lawsuits against companies that are in violation of antitrust laws. When these lawsuits are filed and the courts find that a business is in violation of antitrust law, they may issue criminal or civil penalties to remedy the violation. Predatory pricing, for example, is a violation of antitrust law that is considered a federal crime.

Violations of antitrust laws are considered federal crimes in many cases and when they are, those found to be in violation can face serious jail time. In most cases, the court will also issue an injunction to stop the company from engaging in similar behaviors in the future.

It is not only federal agencies that can file lawsuits when companies are in violation of antitrust laws. Private citizens and other businesses can also file a lawsuit with the appropriate court.

The Controversy of Antitrust Laws

Antitrust laws are quite controversial. Supporters say that they are necessary to keep the market fair and equal. However, they also prevent companies from competing, which means higher costs for consumers. They have also broken up some of the largest companies in America, which others say is also unfair and hurts consumers.

Accused of Violating Antitrust Laws? Call Our Illinois Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer

At the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel, our skilled Chicago federal criminal defense lawyer knows that antitrust laws are unfair and hurt consumers. If you are facing federal charges for violating antitrust laws, we can build you an effective defense so your business can continue to operate as it always has and see continued success. If you have been accused of violating antitrust laws, call us today at 312-270-0999 for your free consultation so we can get started on your case.


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Illionois defense attorney,  Illinois criminal defense lawyerFederal lawmakers have been working on a proposal since the beginning of the year and in late October, that piece of legislation came much closer to becoming law. The new law, if passed, would make animal cruelty a federal crime. Currently, animal cruelty laws are largely left to the states to enact and enforce. The proposed bill is an attempt to expand on a law that was passed during the Obama administration. It has not passed yet but has so far received bipartisan support.

Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act of 2010

While Barack Obama was in the White House, he signed into law the Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act of 2010. This law was in response to a series of extremely disturbing videos depicting animal cruelty. The law got its name because the videos often showed animals being crushed, along with a number of other violent acts. This act made it illegal for people to videotape these acts of cruelty.

However, lawmakers have argued that the law did not go far enough. While the law did forbid the videotaping of animal cruelty, it did nothing to stop the actual acts depicted in the video. It is for this reason that since January of 2019, lawmakers have been trying to push through another law that would correct that.

The Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act

The proposed piece of legislation is known as the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act (PACT). It would make it illegal to purposely injure non-human mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and birds. Although no one wants to see an animal hurt, the inclusion of the word ‘purposely’ is going to become very important if it is passed into law. Otherwise, a dog owner that accidentally stepped on their pet’s tail could face some of the worst criminal charges.

The PACT Act was introduced by Representatives Ted Deutch and Vern Buchanan and was a truly bipartisan effort. It was passed unanimously through the House and now goes to the Senate. The Senate is likely to approve the law, as it has already supported the bill in two previous sessions. President Trump has not commented on whether or not he will sign the bill if it makes it to his desk. Very similarly to marijuana laws, if the PACT Act is passed, the federal law would not interfere with state laws regarding animal cruelty.

Under the PACT Act, anyone caught intentionally inflicting injury on an animal could face up to seven years in federal prison.

Your Federal Charges Need Our Illinois Federal Criminal Defense Attorney

Although this new law has not been passed yet, there are still many people facing charges when they are innocent. If you have been charged with a federal crime, call our Chicago federal criminal defense lawyer today. At the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel, our attorney knows how to defend against federal charges and will always stand up for your rights to give you the best chance of retaining your freedom. If you have been charged with a federal offense, call us today at 312-270-0999 to schedule your free consultation.


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