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Posted by on in Federal Crimes

Chicago federal sex crime defense attorneyThe issue is not new and is, in fact, as old as the internet itself,  but sexually-based crimes committed on the internet have garnered more professional and social attention as of late. The most notorious internet sex crimes—and the most commonly perpetrated—are the production and dissemination of child pornography. There are, however, many other types of online sex crimes as well.

For example, soliciting chats of a sexual nature from any vulnerable person, including a child or anyone who is unable to make the decision for him or herself, is considered an Internet crime. Inappropriate solicitation can take the form of asking the person to send a sexual photo of him or herself, or asking a minor to meet somewhere with sexual intentions.

The Prevalence of Online Sex Crimes

Statistics show that these types of crimes have steadily increased in recent years with the proliferation of the internet and as more and more teens spend increasing hours online. At least 13 percent of internet users under the age of 18 have reported having been the subject of unwanted sexual solicitations online, and 9 percent have found distressing sexual material while browsing the web.

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Illinois federal drug trafficking defense lawyerPossessing, selling, or distributing drugs can be a serious offense that carries serious charges, no matter where you live. When you are charged with drug trafficking, however, the sentence and corresponding fines can be even more severe. If you have been charged in federal court with drug trafficking, it is imperative to immediately speak with a legal professional. The longer you wait to understand the charges you are facing and what options you have, the more difficult it may be to build a proper case to mitigate the effects of the charges.

The first step in any criminal case is to understand the type of charge and exactly what it means. The differences between drug trafficking and distributing are many, but the basic difference is that a drug trafficking charge will likely be a federal charge while a possession or simple distribution charge most often will be handled at the state level. Federal charges generally carry longer sentences and can have a more severe effect on a person’s long-term record.

The International Issue of Drug Trafficking

The United Nations describes drug trafficking as a global problem. It is an illicit trade involving the manufacture and distribution of illegal substances across countries and continents. One of the most complex drug trafficking trade operations involves the manufacture and distribution of heroin. The abuse of heroin and other opioids has become such a problem that American health officials have started referring to it as an epidemic. The vast majority of the world’s heroin comes from Afghanistan, estimated at 380 tons annually. Another 50 tons come from the nations of Myanmar and Laos.

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Illinois federal crime defense attorneyIn any criminal case—including a federal criminal case—the prosecutors bear the burden of proof to demonstrate that the defendant has committed the crime in question. But, what does it mean to prove the defendant’s guilt? The standard of proof in a criminal case is “beyond a reasonable doubt,” which means that the jury or the judge must believe “beyond a reasonable doubt” that the suspect did what prosecutors say he or she did. The tricky part of this standard, however, is defining reasonable doubt.

Defining Reasonable Doubt

Depending on the case in question, prosecutors may attempt to explain to jurors what reasonable doubt means. Defense attorneys sometimes present a definition of their own, as well. For example, a prosecuting attorney in California once compared the standard to a puzzle that is missing a single piece, suggesting that even with a missing piece, it was still clear what the puzzle showed. The case resulted in a conviction that was later overturned on appeal because by attempting to define reasonable doubt, the prosecutor effectively told jurors they could convict the defendant based on incomplete information.

For reasons like this, the parties in a criminal case are generally not encouraged to offer their own definitions of reasonable doubt. The same is true if the judge is not careful about explaining reasonable doubt to the jurors.

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Chicago IL federal criminal defense lawyerWhen you are charged with a federal criminal offense, you are likely to be very upset and confused. You might not know how you ended up being charged, and you probably have serious concerns about how the case will play out. These are all understandable feelings, but if left unchecked, they can lead to you taking the wrong type of action. You could find yourself doing things that might actually harm your case and make things worse for yourself. If you are facing federal charges, be aware of these common mistakes so that you can avoid them.

1. Careless Posting on Social Media

When a person is arrested on any criminal charges, he or she is given the Miranda warnings. These warnings remind a person of his or her right to an attorney and the right to remain silent. They also remind the suspect that anything he or she says can be used against him or her. It is critical to remember that this does not just apply to conversations or interrogations with the police. Anything you say at any time, including what you post on Facebook, Instagram, or any other social media platform, could be used by prosecutors against you. The best advice is to stay away from social media entirely while your case is ongoing, but you should absolutely avoid posting anything related to the case or the alleged crime.

2. Giving Information to the Police

Many people are not aware that they are not required to talk with the police, especially before they are reminded of their rights. If you are detained or arrested by the police, you do not have to answer any questions about the case, and you certainly should not say anything that might cause you to appear guilty. Invoking your Fifth Amendment right does not make you look guilty. It simply demonstrates that you understand your rights and how they apply.

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Chicago federal gun charge defense lawyerThe laws that govern firearms on a federal level can be very complex, and a conviction on federal firearms charges can lead to serious criminal penalties. In addition, these laws also give prosecutors a variety of ways to prosecute those suspected of such offenses. As a result, federal prosecution of gun-related crimes has increased in recent decades. With this in mind, it is important to understand the law and how it might apply if you are ever facing federal weapons charges.

Illegal Selling of Firearms

There are a number of federal statutes that pertain to selling firearms, including requirements for licensing and the restriction of moving certain types of firearms from one state to another. Under Title 18, Section 922 (a) of the United States Code, it is illegal to sell firearms across state lines unless the seller has a license to do so. If you are convicted of interstate selling of firearms without a license, you could face five years in federal prison.

Licensed weapons dealers could also face federal criminal charges for selling a firearm to anyone who is not legally allowed to own a firearm under federal or state law. This includes prospective buyers who do not meet the age requirements for buying a gun, as well as those who have had their right to own or possess a firearm restricted by a domestic violence-related order of protection. A licensed dealer who sells weapons illegally could face up to ten years in prison and the loss of his or her license.

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