Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal justice system, Illinois criminal lawyer,Being convicted of child pornography possession can come with years — even decades — behind bars. If you have been charged or fear you may be charged with such a crime, you are likely interested in how you can defend yourself from these allegations.

The federal government must prove that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. One way to present to a judge or jury that there is reasonable doubt of your guilt is to mount an effective legal defense with the assistance of a skilled attorney.

There are several common defenses that may be applicable to your case:

  • Knowledge. A person convicted of child porn possession must know that the images are of children. Thus, if you present evidence that you did not know that the images were of children, you may be found not guilty. For example, if there are not many images or if they are labeled a certain way, you could argue this defense.
  • Shared computer. If the images or videos were found on a shared computer, you may have a successful defense. If the material was found on a shared computer, it will be difficult to prove that you had control over the images. It could also be argued that someone else put the images on the computer to get you in trouble.
  • Not child pornography. It may be the case that the images do not meet the definition of child porn. Under federal law, child pornography is any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving someone under 18 years of age. It may be possible that you can prove the age of the subjects in the images.
  • Illegal search. This defense concerns the actions police or investigators took. Under the Fourth Amendment, in most cases, the government cannot search your home unless it has a warrant or probable cause. It must have properly applied for a warrant, or it must have had enough evidence that you may have committed a crime before searching your computer.

Even if none of these defenses apply to your case, there are many other available. This is why it is critical to retain a lawyer who will present your best arguments in court.

Contact a Chicago, IL Child Pornography Charges Attorney

If you are concerned about federal charges, the Illinois child pornography charges lawyer at the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel can review your case and explain to you what defenses may apply. Call 312-629-0669 to set up your first meeting with our firm today.


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Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal justice system, Illinois criminal lawyer,Both Illinois and the federal government have laws prohibiting drug possession, distribution, and manufacture. Thus, any of these activities could be prosecuted by the state or federal authorities.

If you have been charged with a drug crime, how is it decided if you will be tried in state or federal court? Every case is different, but there are a variety of ways your case could end up in the federal system.

There are a variety of factors that could determine the state or federal issue:

  • Who made the arrest? Probably the most common way a drug case ends up in federal court is when the arresting officer is a federal agent. Many times this happens when local police work with federal officers on a sting operation. This could also happen when the alleged crime is said to have taken place on federal lands (such as a national park).
  • An informant named you. If someone being investigated or prosecuted by the federal government named you as someone involved in criminal activity so that they would be granted leniency, then you would also be prosecuted by the federal government.
  • Severity of the offense. Typically, drug possession charges and small-scale distribution charges will be handled in the state system while manufacture and large-scale drug operations will be prosecuted federally.
  • If there is any question about which jurisdiction will charge and prosecute someone accused of a drug crime, typically, the state and federal prosecutors will discuss the case and determine which entity is best suited to handle the case.

Why Does State or Federal Jurisdiction Matter?

If you are charged by the federal government for a drug crime, you generally will serve more jail time. This happens for several reasons. First, there are high mandatory minimums for federal prison sentences. Also, in the federal system, there is no parole program. Finally, federal probation does exist, however, it is not as frequently granted.

In addition, federal drug charges can open you up to other federal charges such as tax fraud or Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) violations, which result in additional jail time.

Contact a Chicago, IL Federal Drug Charge Lawyer

Federal drug charges are extremely serious. The amount of prison time at stake means that you should hire an attorney who has a thorough knowledge of federal drug charges. Our experienced Chicago, IL drug offense attorney can be reached at 312-629-0669.



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drug-abuseFor many years, drug abuse has caused such a negative impact on society, and individuals are still looking to drugs to alleviate their emotional distress. Drug abuse is very dangerous, and can cause all kinds of serious consequences, including time in jail, loss of employment opportunities, and health problems in the future.

An Increase in the Use of Drugs

The use of illegal drugs has been increasing in the United States. Five years ago, in 2013, slightly under 25 million Americans over 12 years old, making up 9.4 percent of the whole population, had used illegal drugs. In 2002, only 8.3 percent of the population had reported using illegal drugs.

The most commonly used illegal drug is marijuana, which is most likely responsible for the increase in drug use and abuse. Since 2007, the use of marijuana has increased, with approximately 19.8 million Americans reporting their use in 2013. In 2007, nearly 14.5 million Americans reported using marijuana.

Nearly 70 percent of new drug users started their experimenting with marijuana. Prescription pain relievers were experimented by 12.5 percent of new drug users. Approximately 6.3 percent of individuals who started using drugs experimented with inhalants. This type of drug is the most common among younger teenagers.

Tranquilizers were experimented by slightly over 5 percent of new drug users. Stimulants were experimented by 2.7 percent of new drug users, with hallucinogens making up 2.6 percent, sedatives making up 0.2 percent, and cocaine making up 0.1 percent.

Five years ago, nearly 1.5 million individuals used cocaine, and 595,000 individuals used methamphetamines.

Age Groups and the Use of Drugs

Most individuals who use drugs have experimented when they were teenagers. In 2013, there were slightly under 3 million new users of illegal drugs, with over 50 percent of those new users were 18 years old or younger. The use of drugs is the highest in individuals between the ages of 18 and 20 years old. Five years ago, approximately 22 percent of individuals in this age group had reported using illegal drugs.

Call a Chicago Drug Crime Lawyer

If you or someone you know has been charged with a drug crime, it is best to seek effective legal representation. At the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel, we understand your rights, and we will go above and beyond in representing you in your case. To schedule a free initial consultation with our Chicago criminal defense attorneys, please call 312-629-0669 today.


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Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyer, Chicago crime statistics,Memorial Day weekend is almost here, and many individuals have made plans to relax and enjoy some time off from work. While the majority of individuals try to make Memorial Day weekend as peaceful as possible, the three-day weekend at the end of May can be cause for concern, especially in major cities where gun violence tends to be more prevalent. When there is not much to do anywhere, the chances of gun violence have greatly increased.

A Look into the Memorial Day Weekend Shootings in Chicago

Last year, in 2017, seven individuals were killed due to gun violence in the city of Chicago. Another 45 individuals were injured because of gun violence. Nearly half of all individuals wounded or killed were shot on Monday, Memorial Day.

In 2012, between three o’clock in the afternoon and six o’clock in the morning, 53 individuals were shot and injured, and 11 individuals were killed due to gun violence.

In 2013, during the same time frame, 21 individuals were injured because of gun violence, and four individuals were shot and killed. One year later, 34 individuals were shot, and six individuals were killed.

In 2015, 57 individuals were shot and injured due to gun violence, and 12 individuals were killed. The following year, the city of Chicago had experienced a significant increase in the number of injuries due to gun violence. In 2016, 71 individuals were shot and injured, and six individuals were killed due to the gun violence.

In 2017, there were 52 injuries and seven deaths reported, as a result of gun violence. Before Monday, Memorial Day, there were only 28 individuals who had been shot during the long weekend.

During the first three days of the 2017 Memorial Day weekend in Chicago, 19 individuals were shot on the city’s South Side. The city’s West Side experienced only five shootings during the first three days of the long weekend.

Call a Cook County Weapons Defense Attorney

Gun violence is a very serious crime that can come with unwanted consequences. If you have been charged with gun violence, you may lose future employment opportunities, healthy relationships with your family, friends, and loved ones, and your overall quality of life. At the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel, we will work to defend your rights. For a free initial consultation, please call a Chicago weapons defense lawyer at 312-629-0669 to discuss your case today.


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