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Illionois defense attorney,  Illinois criminal defense lawyerDid you know that you could be charged with a federal crime even if authorities are aware that you did not actually commit what most people would consider an illegal act? At some point or another, most of us have talked or joked about the idea of committing some type of crime—such as robbing a bank when family finances get tight. Doing so may seem harmless, especially when such conversations are light-hearted, but in reality, having serious discussions or making plans related to the commission of a crime could lead to the filing of federal conspiracy charges. It is possible to be charged with conspiracy even if the discussed act or acts were never actually carried out.

Understanding Federal Conspiracy Charges

Criminal conspiracy is one of the most common charges filed at the federal level. In general, prosecutors are often likely to file this because it allows for a broad set of evidence to be presented. Federal conspiracy charges are also commonly used as leverage by federal prosecutors and law enforcement agencies as they investigate larger-scale criminal operations. For example, a federal agent could threaten to charge a person with criminal conspiracy unless the person is willing to cooperate and share additional details about other individuals who may have carried out the primary offense in question.

Federal charges for criminal conspiracy can be brought against a suspect in connection with any federal crime, including federal drug crimes, federal white-collar offenses, and federal child pornography charges. A federal conspiracy charge means that federal agents or prosecutors have reasons to believe that at least two individuals somehow agreed to work together in committing a federal offense. To obtain a conviction on federal conspiracy charges, the United States attorney who is prosecuting the case must be able to prove several elements, including:


Illionois defense attorney,  Illinois criminal defense lawyerOver the last few weeks, more than 1,000 arrests have been made in major cities around the country, and over 215 individuals have been charged with at least one federal crime. These numbers come from an announcement made by U.S. Attorney General William Barr last week. The arrests were made as part of “Operation Legend,” a focused, nationwide effort to combat violent crime in America’s large cities.

In Chicago alone, more than 60 people have been charged with federal crimes since the initiative began in the city on July 22. Attorney Barr said the charges are related to bank fraud, narcotics, and weapons violations.

Operation Legend Honors Young Victim

According to the Justice Department, Operation Legend was started as a “sustained, systemic, and coordinated law enforcement initiative in which federal law enforcement agencies work in conjunction with state and local law enforcement officials to fight violent crime.” The name of the operation was selected to honor LeGend Taliferro, a 4-year-old boy who was shot to death as slept in the early hours of June 29 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Second-degree murder charges were filed against the boy’s alleged killer two weeks ago.)

Illionois defense attorney,  Illinois criminal defense lawyerLearning that your loved one has been charged with a federal crime is very scary. You want to help, but you do not know how to do it, or what steps to take. You may also want to post bond as soon as possible, so your spouse can come back home to you. The federal justice system though, is very different from the state justice system most people think of in criminal cases and so, it is important to understand those differences, and what you should do after your spouse is arrested. State Court vs. Federal Court Many people are familiar with the state court system and how it works, but are unaware that federal court is very different. Federal convictions typically carry much harsher consequences, and the procedural rules also vastly differ. As such, you need to work with a criminal defense lawyer that has the necessary experience in federal court to give your spouse the best chance possible. Posting Bond One of the biggest differences between state and federal courts is that you will likely be unable to post bond right away for your spouse. State courts often allow people to post bail or bond and remain at home until the date of their court hearing. Federal courts do not typically follow this procedure. The Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure state that defendants must appear in their first detention hearing within three days of arrest. At the hearing, they will be read the charges they are facing, and the court will determine if the individual is a flight risk, or if they pose a threat to others. After determining this, the judge will determine whether bond is appropriate. Certain federal offenses do not allow defendants or their loved ones to post bond. These include certain violent crimes, drug offenses that carry a prison sentence of ten years or more, felonies committed against a minor, and felonies committed with a firearm. Steps to Take to Help Your Spouse’s Case If your loved one cannot post bond, it will be even more important that you understand the steps you should take. The first step is to keep copies of all documentation. You may receive copies of warrants, police reports, and other paperwork during and after your spouse’s arrest. It is crucial that you keep all of these, as they will contain information about where your spouse is detained. Secondly, you must speak with a federal criminal defense lawyer that can help with your spouse’s case. Remember that the lawyer will work for your spouse, not you. Although it is okay to ask questions, remain understanding if there are certain aspects of the case the lawyer cannot discuss with you. Our Chicago Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer Is Here to Help

If your spouse has been arrested and is facing federal charges, there is little doubt that you want to help them as much as possible. At the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel, our experienced Chicago federal criminal defense lawyer knows what a difficult time this is for you, and wants to make it easier on your family. Call us today at 312-629-0669 or contact us online to learn more about how we can help your spouse with their charges.


Illionois defense attorney,  Illinois criminal defense lawyerMany people are familiar with the term ‘stalking,’ but because this offense is commonly charged at the state level, individuals are often surprised to learn that they are facing federal charges. Under certain conditions, a stalking charge can quickly turn into a federal offense and when they do, it is important to speak to a lawyer experienced with the federal criminal justice system. The Definition of Stalking Under Federal Law The federal statute that governs stalking defines the offense as:
  • Placing another person in reasonable fear of serious bodily injury or death to themselves, their family members, spouse, or intimate partners, or
  • Causing, or attempting to cause, significant emotional distress to the victim, or
  • Acting with the intent to injure, harass, kill, or intimidate the victim
  • Placing a victim under surveillance in an effort to injure, harass, kill, or intimidate them
In order for stalking to be considered a federal offense, rather than a state crime, the accused must cross state lines, enter or exit tribal land, or engage in interstate commerce while committing the crime. Although these conditions may sound drastic, a person may face federal charges for stalking if they used the telephone, Internet, or postal service to commit the crime. Understanding the Terms of Stalking Over the years, the courts have had to define certain terms within the stalking statute. The definition of these terms are as follows:
  • Course of conduct: One single act of harassment is not considered stalking. Instead, the accused must show a course of conduct, which is a pattern of similar behavior meant to intimidate or harm.
  • Harass: The courts have determined that harassment involves repeated words or conduct, as well as other actions that have no purpose other than to alarm, distress, or annoy the victim.
  • Substantial emotional distress: The courts have ruled that ‘substantial emotional distress’ includes shame, shock, grief, fear, anxiety, embarrassment, depression, humiliation, and shame.
  • Intent: Like in most criminal cases, the prosecution must show that the accused individual had the intent to place the alleged victim in fear of injury, death, or emotional distress. The prosecution will use the defendant’s own voicemails, texts, and postings to social media to prove intent.
Penalties for Stalking Stalking may sound like a minor offense to some but for those convicted, the crime comes with harsh penalties. Individuals convicted of stalking will face up to five years in federal prison, a maximum fine of $250,000, or both. Our Chicago Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer can Help You Beat the Charges

The consequences for stalking are serious at a state level, but they become much harsher when someone is charged at the federal level. If you have been arrested or charged with stalking, our skilled Chicago criminal defense lawyer at the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel can help. Attorney Garfinkel has the necessary experience to provide the valid defense your case needs so you have the best chance of beating the charges. Call us today at 312-629-0669 to schedule a free consultation and to learn more about how we can help.


Illionois defense attorney,  Illinois criminal defense lawyerFederal offenses are often misunderstood, mainly because people are more familiar with state crimes that are prosecuted at the state level. Federal crimes are those that violate federal law and, although state law often mirrors this law, there are times when the crime has certain elements that make it a federal offense. A drug crime, for example, violates state law but if the crime involves a border crossing, it becomes a federal crime. Drug offenses are one of the most common federal crimes, as are weapons crimes and white-collar crimes.

Drug Crimes

Any offense that violates the federal Controlled Substances Act is considered a federal crime. Drug crimes are some of the most common offenses at the state level too, but there are some significant differences between the two. For example, while many states have legalized marijuana use, even in these states it is illegal to consume the drug on federal property. If someone was found consuming marijuana on federal property, they could face federal charges, although it would be unlikely.

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