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Illinois federal criminal defense attorneyThe U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois indicted a Chicago man for allegedly producing child pornography earlier this month. According to the news release, the man allegedly persuaded several minors to engage in sexual activities and then secretly recorded it. When federal agents searched his home, they found a plethora of explicit material of a similar nature on hard drives, a cell phone, and a computer. Given the severity of the alleged child sex crimes, the man could face serious prison time.

Federal Child Pornography Laws

According to federal law, there are about half a dozen statutes covering child pornography, but they can be categorized into four groups: producing child pornography; buying and selling it; possessing, distributing, and receiving it; and producing sexually explicit depictions of a minor for importation into the U.S.

The Justice Department considers child pornography to be any visual depiction of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct. This does not necessarily mean the child is engaging in sex, but rather the child is “sufficiently sexually suggestive.” The activities described in these statutes are considered criminal offenses regardless of whether the minor was willing to pose or participate.

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Illinois federal crime defense attorneyEarlier this month, the U.S. Attorney’s Office filed charges against a Chicago man for trafficking cocaine and transferring a loaded submachine gun. While it is fairly common to hear about drug and gun charges being filed together, machine gun charges are actually kind of rare. In fact, only about 7 percent of the more than 65,000 federal gun charges filed between 2008 and 2017 involved a machine gun.

A History of U.S. Machine Gun Laws

One partial explanation for the small number of machine-gun charges is that the federal government started cracking down on machine gun ownership following the Prohibition Era. In 1934, Congress passed the National Firearms Act, which requires anyone who buys an automatic weapon, short-barreled rifle or shotgun, or silencer to register the item, pay a $200 tax, and complete a number of other bureaucratic steps.

A half-century later, after a number of high-profile assassinations, Congress passed the Gun Control Act of 1968, and then updated it in the 1980s amid an uptick in crime. The latter limited machine gun transfers by essentially prohibiting the production of machine guns after 1986.

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Illinois federal criminal defense attorneyDuring the social unrest in the summer of 2020, gun stores were a popular target for burglars and looters. In most cases, thieves arrived in groups, gained entrance by smashing through the storefront, and proceeded to ransack the store. Using that method, they could often steal dozens of firearms in a short amount of time.

Most gun stores have alarm systems and surveillance cameras, and they are required by federal law to keep detailed records of their inventory. Before any of that, though, gun stores need a federal firearms license (FFL) in order to operate, which puts them in federal jurisdiction.

Gun thefts from a store with an FFL are primarily investigated by agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). Suspects identified in such an investigation could face federal charges such as stealing firearms, possessing stolen guns, and even conspiracy.

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Illinois federal criminal defense lawyerA federal crime is any offense that violates United States federal laws. These crimes are prosecuted by government agencies and can come with harsher punishments than state crimes. If you were recently charged with a federal offense, the steps you take afterward can have a large impact on the outcome of your case, including your chances of avoiding conviction or reducing your sentence.

Steps to Take If You Are Facing a Federal Criminal Charge

Facing a federal criminal charge can definitely be a frightening ordeal. However, it is important to maintain your composure and take the necessary steps to protect your rights and build a strong defense.

  • Understand whether you could face both federal and state charges. If you violated both federal and state laws, you may be up against both federal and state charges. This means that even if you get convicted or acquitted of a state crime, the government can still charge you with a federal crime. Knowing the stakes can help you choose the most appropriate response.

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Illinois federal criminal defense lawyerIf you have been charged with a federal drug crime, it is crucial to have a skilled Illinois criminal attorney on your side. If convicted of a federal drug crime, you may face serious penalties, such as prison time and heavy fines. A lawyer will help you build a strong defense and protect your legal rights.

When Drug Crimes Become Federal Offenses

Some drug crimes are charged at the state level while others are charged at the federal level. You will likely be charged federally if you commit a drug offense on federal property, such as a national park. You may also be charged federally if you are caught manufacturing or trafficking illegal drugs, especially across state lines.

Types of Federal Drug Crimes

Federal drug crimes come with penalties beyond prison time. If you get convicted of a federal drug crime, you will have a permanent criminal record, making it more difficult to get a job and place to live. Here are several types of federal drug crimes:

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