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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 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 crime defense attorneyThere are various rights that all American citizens have been given by the U.S. Constitution. For example, we all have the right to freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and the freedom to peacefully assemble. One of the constitutional rights that comes into question in many criminal cases is your Fifth Amendment right against “double jeopardy,” or being tried for the same crime more than once. When you commit certain crimes, you may find that you face both state and federal charges for the same event. Many times, this is a result of committing a crime that takes place across state lines, but it can also be a result of various crimes that violate both state and federal laws. Though it may seem unfair, you can indeed face both state and federal charges for the same crime.

Understanding “Double Jeopardy”

To explain the legality of charging a crime on both the state and federal levels, you must first understand the two most important concepts that are involved: double jeopardy and dual sovereignty. Many people believe that being charged both by the state and the federal government is a violation of their Fifth Amendment rights. The Fifth Amendment states that, “No person shall...be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb…” This means that once a person is subject to certain charges, they cannot be subject to charges arising from the same incident again.

The Concept of “Dual Sovereignty”

Dual sovereignty is one of the exceptions to the double jeopardy rule. The concept of dual sovereignty is simply the idea that it is still constitutionally legal for both the state government and the federal government to press charges for the same instance of crime. The basis of this argument is that the levels of government are two different entities and therefore have the right to charge the defendant for the same crime. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled on this previously and has stated that facing both state and federal charges for a single crime is legal as long as the course of action during the crime violated both state and federal laws.

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Posted by on in Federal Crimes
Chicago federal perjury defense attorney

Most people have at least heard of perjury, and you probably realize that being accused of perjury is a serious matter. You might know that perjury means lying under oath, but did you know that it is a federal crime? There are a number of federal statutes that address and criminalize perjury and related false statements, but two, in particular, are used most often to prosecute perjury. Section 1621 of Title 18 of the United States Code is commonly used to prosecute perjury before administrative, legislative, and judicial bodies, while Section 1623 of Title 18 addresses false statements made before grand juries and federal courts.

While there are differences between these two statutes and their applicability, the overall definition of perjury remains largely the same. It may seem like a simple definition, but prosecutors must prove several distinct elements to obtain a conviction on perjury charges.

Perjury Can Only Occur Under Oath

Making false statements is not always perjury. In order for a false statement to constitute perjury, it must be made under oath. For example, if you are being questioned by the police and you make a statement that is not true, you cannot be found guilty of perjury because you did not swear an oath to tell the truth. To be considered “under oath,” a person must make a promise to give honest testimony, and the promise must be made before a person with the proper authority to administer such an oath, including an officer of the court.

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