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chicago federal criminal defense lawyerAfter the horrific events of September 11, 2001, U.S. Congress enacted the USA PATRIOT Act. Meant to deter and punish terrorists, the PATRIOT Act significantly broadened measures to catch terrorists, including domestic terrorists, and keep Americans safe. 

While the PATRIOT Act was undoubtedly enacted with lofty goals in mind, critics immediately voiced concerns that continue to this day. Activist campaigns and organizations frequently engage in activities that could technically be considered domestic terrorism, and indeed, people are sometimes prosecuted for acts of conscience. Certain sections of the Act, including those on civil forfeiture, broadened government powers in ways that critics claim are easily abused. If you are facing charges of domestic terrorism, know that you do not have to face them alone. You can get help from a criminal defense attorney and fight the charges against you. 

Claims of Domestic Terrorism Increasing

The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have made big claims in recent years about the extent to which domestic terrorism has spread throughout the country. While some people firmly believe the broadened scope of what is considered domestic terrorism is politically motivated, if you are hit with domestic terrorism charges, it does not matter what political party you are - you will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. 

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Posted by on in Federal Crimes

chicago criminal defense lawyerThe state of Utah was shocked last month when a reality TV star on Real Housewives of Salt Lake City pleaded guilty to federal criminal charges of committing federal wire fraud in a telemarketing scheme. While the reality TV storyline may prove irresistible to viewers, charges of federal telemarketing fraud carry serious consequences including extended time in federal prison. Under the terms of this reality TV star’s plea deal, she could spend up to 14 years in prison. If you or someone you love has been arrested for telemarketing fraud, it is important to understand this crime and the potential consequences you may face. 

Federal Mail and Wire Fraud Crimes

For most of us, scams are an obnoxious part of life. While many of these scams use either obvious or well-known tactics, others are quite sophisticated and more difficult to see through. No matter their level of sophistication, however, they are all illegal - whether they occur over the phone, through email, over text message, or by snail mail. 

Telemarketing fraud can be a plan, program, or campaign which is meant to induce the victim to buy something, participate in a contest or business opportunity, invest, or donate to a fraudulent charity. Telemarketers may also pose as a family member of a victim, pretending to be in urgent need of help. 

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chicago robbery defense lawyerAt the end of July of this year, an Illinois woman was arrested and charged with aggravated robbery for robbing a bank in Bloomington, IL. While her trial has yet to take place, she will likely face harsh federal consequences if convicted. This is because the vast majority of banks are covered by a federal law making robbery a federal crime. So if you have been busted robbing a bank, will you go to federal prison? If you are convicted, you almost certainly will. Read on to learn more and then contact an Illinois federal criminal defense lawyer for help. 

Is Every Bank Robbery a Federal Crime? 

Every bank that is part of the Federal Reserve System is covered by a 1934 law that makes it a federal crime to rob any member bank. The vast majority of banks in the United States are member banks of the Federal Reserve System because their deposits are insured by the federal government. This protects customers from the kind of losses they experienced during the Great Depression, but it also means that crimes committed in banks are covered under federal law as well as state law. 

Is Robbing an ATM Considered Bank Robbery? 

When someone steals or tries to steal any property of a bank, credit union, or savings and loan association, they have committed a bank robbery. One does not have to hold a teller at gunpoint and demand a bank vault be opened for bank robbery to occur; taking any property from a bank or similar institution is bank robbery as well. This includes: 

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Chicago Criminal Defense AttorneyAlmost every adult in America uses search engines every day. For most of us, our search histories remain private forever - something we typically are grateful for, considering the inherent privacy most of us would prefer when asking all those questions that randomly come to mind. While we can generally feel secure that our searches are done anonymously, certain keywords and phrases can trigger the attention of federal law enforcement. Even a search done out of pure curiosity with no ill intentions may trigger an internet crimes investigation, and curiosity alone may not be a sufficient criminal defense. If you have law enforcement asking questions about your online behavior, contact a criminal defense attorney right away. 

Is the FBI Monitoring Civilian Search Histories? 

The FBI and other law enforcement organizations usually have no interest in what you might be looking up online. But if you are consistently looking up words, instructional materials, or other suspicious search terms that may indicate interest in criminal behavior, you may end up on a government watchlist. 

Furthermore, if you are charged with a crime, your search history may be used to show intent. It is important to be careful about what you are searching and to be aware that even when you are using someone else’s computer or searching on a public computer, like at a library, your search terms can still be linked back to you. 

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chicago federal criminal defense lawyer Federal crimes are serious offenses for which prosecutors generally try to seek the most aggressive penalties. When you or someone you love is facing charges for a federal crime, it can be hard to think straight, especially if you believe you are innocent. Can you post bail? If you can, should you? Will it look bad to meet with an attorney? The answers to these questions are made much more simple with the help of an experienced federal criminal defense attorney who can immediately get you the help you need. If you are wondering whether you can bail out yourself or your spouse for a federal crime, read on. 

Is Bail Possible For Federal Crimes? 

Whether bail is possible for any crime will depend on the crime you are accused of, as well as what happens in your bail hearing. For state crimes, a judge will set an amount for a bond and once you post bail or hire a bondsman, you can leave jail. But when you are charged and arrested for a federal offense, you will need to attend an initial hearing with a Pretrial Services Officer. The officer will ask you many questions about your background and your activities related to the crime of which you are suspected. Knowing how to answer these questions can be challenging and it is highly advisable to secure an attorney before you attend your initial hearing. 

Once you have completed your initial hearing, the officer will talk to a judge and make a recommendation about whether you should be allowed to be released before your trial. If there is a concern that you pose a flight risk or might injure someone, that may justify keeping you in confinement while you await trial. If you are released before trial, you will be informed about the strict conditions you must adhere to while you await trial. Certain actions may result in an immediate revocation of your release. Conditions of pretrial release may include, but are not limited to: 

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