Will I Go to Federal Prison for Robbing a Bank? 

Posted on in Federal Crimes

chicago robbery defense lawyerAt the end of July of this year, an Illinois woman was arrested and charged with aggravated robbery for robbing a bank in Bloomington, IL. While her trial has yet to take place, she will likely face harsh federal consequences if convicted. This is because the vast majority of banks are covered by a federal law making robbery a federal crime. So if you have been busted robbing a bank, will you go to federal prison? If you are convicted, you almost certainly will. Read on to learn more and then contact an Illinois federal criminal defense lawyer for help. 

Is Every Bank Robbery a Federal Crime? 

Every bank that is part of the Federal Reserve System is covered by a 1934 law that makes it a federal crime to rob any member bank. The vast majority of banks in the United States are member banks of the Federal Reserve System because their deposits are insured by the federal government. This protects customers from the kind of losses they experienced during the Great Depression, but it also means that crimes committed in banks are covered under federal law as well as state law. 

Is Robbing an ATM Considered Bank Robbery? 

When someone steals or tries to steal any property of a bank, credit union, or savings and loan association, they have committed a bank robbery. One does not have to hold a teller at gunpoint and demand a bank vault be opened for bank robbery to occur; taking any property from a bank or similar institution is bank robbery as well. This includes: 


Chicago Criminal Defense AttorneyAlmost every adult in America uses search engines every day. For most of us, our search histories remain private forever - something we typically are grateful for, considering the inherent privacy most of us would prefer when asking all those questions that randomly come to mind. While we can generally feel secure that our searches are done anonymously, certain keywords and phrases can trigger the attention of federal law enforcement. Even a search done out of pure curiosity with no ill intentions may trigger an internet crimes investigation, and curiosity alone may not be a sufficient criminal defense. If you have law enforcement asking questions about your online behavior, contact a criminal defense attorney right away. 

Is the FBI Monitoring Civilian Search Histories? 

The FBI and other law enforcement organizations usually have no interest in what you might be looking up online. But if you are consistently looking up words, instructional materials, or other suspicious search terms that may indicate interest in criminal behavior, you may end up on a government watchlist. 

Furthermore, if you are charged with a crime, your search history may be used to show intent. It is important to be careful about what you are searching and to be aware that even when you are using someone else’s computer or searching on a public computer, like at a library, your search terms can still be linked back to you. 


chicago federal criminal defense lawyer Federal crimes are serious offenses for which prosecutors generally try to seek the most aggressive penalties. When you or someone you love is facing charges for a federal crime, it can be hard to think straight, especially if you believe you are innocent. Can you post bail? If you can, should you? Will it look bad to meet with an attorney? The answers to these questions are made much more simple with the help of an experienced federal criminal defense attorney who can immediately get you the help you need. If you are wondering whether you can bail out yourself or your spouse for a federal crime, read on. 

Is Bail Possible For Federal Crimes? 

Whether bail is possible for any crime will depend on the crime you are accused of, as well as what happens in your bail hearing. For state crimes, a judge will set an amount for a bond and once you post bail or hire a bondsman, you can leave jail. But when you are charged and arrested for a federal offense, you will need to attend an initial hearing with a Pretrial Services Officer. The officer will ask you many questions about your background and your activities related to the crime of which you are suspected. Knowing how to answer these questions can be challenging and it is highly advisable to secure an attorney before you attend your initial hearing. 

Once you have completed your initial hearing, the officer will talk to a judge and make a recommendation about whether you should be allowed to be released before your trial. If there is a concern that you pose a flight risk or might injure someone, that may justify keeping you in confinement while you await trial. If you are released before trial, you will be informed about the strict conditions you must adhere to while you await trial. Certain actions may result in an immediate revocation of your release. Conditions of pretrial release may include, but are not limited to: 


chicago-federal-crimes-defense-lawyer.jpgLast month, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled on several important cases. While certain cases earned more publicity than others, one of the cases that got the least coverage is the most important for criminal defense purposes. This case, Vega v. Tekoh, clarified that a police officer cannot be sued if he does not give an individual a Miranda warning before interrogating him when that individual’s incriminating statements are introduced as evidence against him in court. 

This has significant implications for criminal defense as it removes a defendant’s ability to seek a remedy for violations of their Miranda rights. If you are being accused of a crime, it is absolutely essential to never give statements to law enforcement that admit guilt. If you are being accused of committing a federal crime, or are even being questioned about one, call an attorney before speaking to investigators. 

What Exactly Are Miranda Rights? 

A Miranda warning is a statement that police are required to give to criminal suspects telling them that they do not need to speak in an interrogation and that anything they say can be used as evidence against them. Miranda warnings also advise suspects that they have a right to an attorney and that, if they cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided. 


chicago-federal-crimes-lawyer.jpgFacing federal criminal charges of any kind in Chicago can be a frightening and confusing experience, especially because federal laws can be so complex and federal prosecutors can be so aggressive. You may rightfully feel as though you cannot trust any promises or guarantees you get regarding bargains or plea deals and even wonder whether the state has a strong case against you to begin with. If you or someone you love has been charged with a federal criminal case, you may be wondering what evidence the state has against you and how much evidence they need to prove you are guilty. Before you make any deals with a prosecutor, make sure you completely understand your options and have help from an experienced, assertive criminal defense attorney. 

Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

Federal criminal cases require prosecutors to prove a defendant’s guilt “beyond reasonable doubt.” This means that defendants do not have to prove they are innocent - rather, the government must prove to the jury that the defendant is guilty with evidence that is so clear that there is no reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty. 

While the prosecution will try to convince the jury that the evidence allows for no other explanation besides the defendant’s guilt, the defendant’s attorney plays a crucial role in convincing the jury otherwise. A defense attorney will speak to the defendant at great length, investigate the case, examine all the evidence, negotiate with the prosecutors, and create a convincing argument in the courtroom. Defense attorneys can cross-examine witnesses, bring expert witnesses of their own, and provide defendants with a realistic idea of their options throughout the case. 

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