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Hal Garfinkel is retained as the defendant's lawyer in the Chicago high profile murder case of Marlen Ochoa-Lopez. Read more...
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Chicago federal criminal defense attorneyThe nation looked on in horror as a protest in the nation’s capital turned violent and destructive last week, leading to a number of injuries and widespread damage to one of America’s most iconic buildings. Thousands of protestors gathered in front of the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, DC, on January 6 as lawmakers were assembled to certify the results of November’s presidential election. According to various news outlets, the protest turned destructive as hundreds of people managed to get past Capitol security and into the building itself.

In the days that followed, authorities announced the filing of federal charges against a number of the people who were allegedly involved. Among the first 13 arrested on federal charges was the CEO of a Chicago-area tech company who is now facing at least three federal charges for his alleged actions last week. Several dozen others were arrested and charged with unlawful entry and curfew violations in Washington, DC Superior Court.

Federal Charges Lead to Termination

According to various news outlets, an Inverness man was charged last week with three federal crimes, including violent entry and disorderly conduct on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol. The 52-year-old was the chief executive officer of a small data technology company based in Schaumburg.

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Chicago federal criminal defense lawyerCriminal offenses can be prosecuted at either the state or federal level depending on a number of factors, including the nature of the alleged crime, where the offense allegedly took place, and how the alleged crime was supposedly committed. Most crimes are handled by local police departments and county prosecutors, and the charges for such offenses are filed in the circuit court of the county in which they occurred. Circuit courts are part of the state court system.

Sometimes, however, an offense is charged as a federal crime. In such a case, the investigation is usually supervised by one or more federal agencies, and a United States Attorney files the charge in United States District Court. A federal offense is an extremely serious matter, and it is important to contact a qualified federal crimes defense attorney as soon you realize that federal charges are even remotely possible. The question, of course, is: How do you know when charges are becoming possible?

Federal Investigations Are Rarely Spontaneous

When a person is arrested for a state-level crime, he or she is often taken into custody by a local or municipal police officer on the scene. In the case of retail theft, for example, the officer may have been called by the manager of the store from which the person allegedly stole merchandise. Similarly, a drunk driving arrest is usually made subsequent to a traffic stop initiated by an officer who witnessed a person driving erratically. Local and city police departments do conduct focused investigations, but the bulk of their work involves responding to calls as they happen.

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Illionois defense attorney,  Illinois criminal defense lawyerWhite collar crimes are non-violent offenses that are typically committed for financial gain. Embezzlement, securities fraud, money laundering, and insider trading are all common examples of white-collar crimes. The FBI aggressively investigates these crimes and federal prosecutors are always very eager to secure a conviction in these cases. Although white collar crimes do not involve violence, convictions still carry high fines and lengthy terms in federal prison.

Anyone charged with a white collar crime must work with a federal criminal defense attorney that understands the defenses for these crimes and how to use them effectively. If you are facing charges, below are the most common defenses used in these cases.

Finding Weaknesses in the Prosecution’s Case

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Illionois defense attorney,  Illinois criminal defense lawyerDifferent states have varying laws on carjacking. Many people do not understand, however, that this offense can also be charged as a federal crime. When carjacking is prosecuted at the federal level, the prison sentences for those convicted are typically much longer, and the fines are also much higher as compared to those for a conviction at the state level. Fortunately, there are possible defenses to such charges. To understand what they are, you first must understand when carjacking becomes a federal crime and what the prosecution must prove to secure a conviction.

When Is Carjacking Considered a Federal Crime?

Under 18 USC 2119, carjacking is a federal crime when a person takes a motor vehicle that has been transported, shipped, or received in interstate or foreign commerce. Essentially, the vehicle must cross state or country lines for the crime to be considered a federal offense.

The law states that for federal carjacking to have occurred, a vehicle must be taken from someone else by use of force, violence, or intimidation. The statute also includes attempting to use force or intimidation, even if these attempts are unsuccessful. Additionally, under the federal statute, that force or intimidation must be done with the intention of causing death or serious bodily harm.

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Illionois defense attorney,  Illinois criminal defense lawyerIn most cases, a computer-related crime that is committed anywhere in the U.S. can usually be prosecuted as a federal offense. Of course, each state maintains its own laws regarding computer-based offenses, but such crimes typically involve the internet, which places them under the jurisdiction of federal authorities and the United States federal justice system. For example, those accused of using computers to facilitate drug or weapons trafficking or the exchange of child pornography will usually find themselves facing charges in federal court. The same is true for “hackers” who gain unauthorized access to computer networks or systems via the internet. But what about voting system hacking?

This knowledge—combined with the rampant allegations and rumors of voting-related fraud during the current election campaign—you may be surprised to discover that federal authorities do not currently have a concise process available to prosecute any suspect who is alleged to have hacked a voting system. Late last month, the U.S. House of Representatives took a clear step forward in addressing this problem by unanimously passing a measure that will give the U.S. Justice Department a statutory basis from which to prosecute voter system hacking in federal court.

The Need for a Voting System Hacking Law

The Defending the Integrity of Voting Systems Act originated in the Senate last year following a report issued by the Cyber Digital Task Force—a commissioned extension of the Justice Department. In the report, the Task Force recognized that the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) was and continues to be the primary federal statute under which hacking crimes are prosecuted. However, the CFAA, as it is currently written, does not expressly identify voting machines as protected computers, which means hacking into a voting machine is not expressly identified as a federal crime under the CFAA.

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