Recent Blog Posts

Should You Answer Questions by Federal Officers?

 Posted on April 11, 2024 in Federal Crimes

Chicago, IL criminal defense lawyerYou have the right to remain silent. Many people know this, but few choose to exercise this right. If an FBI agent is questioning you, you may think that it looks suspicious if you choose not to answer their questions.

Federal officers operate by pressuring people to cooperate. Before you answer questions from an FBI agent or any federal agent, it is important that you consult with a Chicago federal criminal lawyer.

What Types of Federal Officers May Question Me?

The type of federal officers that will question you depends largely on the charges you are up against. If you are under investigation for a federal crime, officers from any of the following federal agencies have the right to question you:

How Does Federal Bail and Pretrial Release Work?

 Posted on April 04, 2024 in Federal Crimes

Chicago, IL criminal defense attorneyIf you have been arrested for a crime, you will be held in police custody until you appear before a judge. While if you were arrested for a state crime you would be released on bail, the federal court system has pretrial release for criminal defendants.

If you have been arrested for a federal crime, the first call you make should be to a Chicago federal criminal lawyer.  

Overview of Pretrial Release

Our legal system is based upon the presumption that a person is innocent until proven guilty. Unless there is a reason to detain a defendant, the federal court system will release an individual prior to trial. 

The pretrial release program does not use bail, bonds, or bondsmen. Rather, a federal judge has to decide whether to release or detain a defendant following their arrest. A judge has the option to grant any of the following:

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Penalties for Federal Drug Crimes in Illinois

 Posted on March 28, 2024 in Drug Crimes

IL defense lawyerDrug crime charges come with prison time, hefty fines, and a criminal record. With sentences determined by the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, drug crimes prosecuted in federal court generally come with harsher penalties than state-level charges.

Federal drug crimes are complex cases investigated by federal agencies and governed by federal law. If you have been accused of committing a federal drug crime, you need a Chicago drug crime attorney with experience representing defendants against federal charges. 

Common Drug Crime Charges & Penalties

Federal drug crimes encompass a wide range of offenses. The most common drug crimes include:

Simple Possession

Simple possession is the crime of knowingly possessing or using an illegal substance for personal use. This does not include controlled substances that have a valid prescription. A conviction for a misdemeanor offense entails a maximum one-year prison sentence and a minimum fine of $1,000.

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Will You Go to Prison for a Federal Offense?

 Posted on March 23, 2024 in Federal Crimes

IL defense lawyerBeing charged with a federal crime can be frightening. You likely do not know what will come next or if you will be facing prison time. A federal offense is considered more severe than a state offense, carrying harsher penalties.

Being charged with a crime and being convicted of a crime are two different things. Just because you have been charged with a crime does not automatically make you guilty. Getting legal representation immediately is crucial in fighting these charges.

A Chicago federal criminal lawyer can discuss the factors that determine punishment for a federal offense and potential prison time for specific federal charges.

Federal Sentencing Guidelines

The Federal Sentencing Guidelines, developed by the United States Sentencing Commission, examine the severity of a crime and if you have a prior criminal history in determining prison time.

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Federal Money Laundering Investigations in Illinois

 Posted on March 14, 2024 in Money Laundering

IL defense lawyerMoney laundering is the crime of disguising the illegal source of financial assets. To conceal the origins of this “dirty” money, a perpetrator may make transfers to multiple offshore bank accounts. If the perpetrator has a legitimate business, the individual may mix the money gained through illegal means with the revenue earned by the legal business.  

If you are facing criminal allegations of money laundering, you will be investigated by a number of federal agencies. Overseen by the Department of Justice, these law enforcement agencies have vast resources to conduct a thorough investigation into your case.

Money laundering accusations are serious, and if you fail to hire an experienced Chicago money laundering lawyer, your entire future may be in jeopardy.

U.S. Department of the Treasury

The Department of the Treasury strives to safeguard the country from national security and terrorist threats. A special division known as the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence (TFI) works to protect financial institutions both nationally and abroad. TFI, along with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), seeks to disassemble money laundering schemes.

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Is Hacking a Federal Crime?

 Posted on March 08, 2024 in Computer Crime

IL defense lawyerIn 2022, over 800,000 cybercrime cases were reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Of these instances, over 422 million people were victims of data breaches in the United States.

Computer hacking usually involves gaining access to a government or business computer with the intent to commit fraud or steal privileged information. Hacking usually involves accessing web-based information, generally being charged as a federal offense.

If you or a loved one has been accused of federal hacking, do not hesitate to reach out to our Chicago federal defense attorney.

Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986, codified as 18 U.S.C. § 1030, criminalizes accessing a protected computer. The statute defines computer fraud as knowingly accessing a computer without permission to obtain sensitive information pertaining to the federal government. Under the statute, hacking a “protected” computer is a federal crime.

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Who Can Face Charges of Insurance Fraud?

 Posted on February 28, 2024 in Fraud

IL criminal lawyerInsurance fraud costs the average American household an additional $400 to $700 in increased premiums annually. Insurance fraud is an increasing problem, estimated to cost more than $40 billion per year.

Insurance fraud can be committed by an insurance agent, adjuster, contractor, or even consumer, which can land the offender in federal prison.

If you or a family member are facing charges of insurance fraud, our Chicago criminal defense attorney is here to provide legal representation.

Common Insurance Fraud Schemes

Insurance fraud is the defrauding of an insurance company, another party, the state government, or the federal government for financial means. This defrauding can take place in a number of ways but does involve an individual making a false representation.

The most common insurance fraud schemes include:

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Pleading Guilty to Federal Charges

 Posted on February 22, 2024 in Federal Crimes

IL defense lawyerMost defendants plead guilty as part of a plea bargain. A plea bargain is negotiated between a defense attorney and prosecutor, requiring judge approval. In a plea agreement, the defendant will plead guilty to a crime in exchange for certain charges being dropped or to a lesser charge.

Attorney Hal M. Garfinkel would like to provide an overview of federal plea bargaining and how our Chicago federal criminal lawyer can assist you in the process.

What is a Plea Bargain?

If the government has sufficient evidence to implicate the defendant, a federal prosecutor may offer the defendant a plea bargain. The defendant is only allowed to plead guilty if he or she committed the crime.

When both sides come to an agreement on a plea deal, there will be no trial, but rather, the defendant will proceed directly to sentencing. Even if the defense counsel and prosecutor can come to an agreement on terms, the judge still has full control over sentencing. The prosecutor may recommend a more lenient sentence, but the judge can impose whatever sentence he believes to be appropriate.

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Federal Charges for Human Trafficking

 Posted on February 13, 2024 in Human Trafficking

IL federal crimes lawyerHuman trafficking involves the exploitation of people for forced labor or commercial sexual services. To crack down on crime, our judicial system imposes severe penalties for human trafficking offenders.

Human trafficking often involves force, fraud, or coercion to get the victim to perform forced labor or sexual acts. These acts are against the victim’s will but are performed due to financial hardship, emotional vulnerability, or out of fear.

If you have been accused of human trafficking, you need to speak with a Chicago federal criminal lawyer to defend the charges brought against you.

Trafficking Victims Protections Act of 2000

The Trafficking Victims Protections Act of 2000 (TVPA) was created to assist victims of human trafficking by establishing a federal task force to combat such illegal activity. Along with preventing trafficking, the law gives certain federal agencies the power to establish programs that will help victims reintegrate into society.

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Federal Child Pornography Investigations: You Need a Lawyer

 Posted on February 11, 2024 in Child Pornography

Blog Image Child pornography involves the visual depiction of minors engaging in explicit sexual conduct. The pornography could be depicted through film, videos, photographs, or computer-generated imagery (CGI).

If you are found guilty of such charges, you can expect harsh penalties, including significant jail time and even fines. If you are facing allegations of child pornography, do not hesitate to contact our Chicago federal child pornography attorney today.

Federal Child Pornography Charges

Child pornography charges may include:

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