Posted by on in Bail
bailIf you have been charged with a drug crime, a weapons offense, or any other federal crime, you may be wondering if you can post bail so you can remain out of jail until a decision is made at trial. Most people think that as long as they have the money, it is fairly easy to get bail. This is mainly due to the fact that when most people think of jail, they think of state facilities. The federal justice system is much different, and that includes how decisions are made about bail, bond, and pretrial release. Initial Hearing Shortly after being charged, you will meet with a Pretrial Services Officer. During an interview, the officer will ask you about your entire background. Afterward, the officer will make a recommendation to the court about whether you need an attorney appointed, and whether you should be detained or released while the case is pending. The judge will review the recommendations of the officer and hear arguments from you and the prosecution pertaining to your pre-trial release. Bail Generally speaking, bail is a term used to describe money paid court so you can be released from jail prior to your trial. In state courts, bail is quite common, but it is quite rare in federal court. In federal court, the issue of pretrial release does not revolve around one person’s ability to pay, but rather a number of conditions the court may impose to ensure you return to court. Bond The conditions the court imposes to ensure you return to court are known as bond. Bond can incorporate a number of conditions you must meet until the end of your trial. A judge will determine the bond conditions based on five premises. These are that you will:
  • Not commit a crime
  • Cooperate with the probation officer
  • Not associate with known or suspected criminals
  • Remain employed and gain a lawful income
  • Submit and pass random drug tests
If the judge allows bond, they will inform you of what the conditions are, as well as the penalties for non-compliance. These can include the revocation of your release, as well as additional charges for violating a judge’s federal order. Although pretrial release is possible in federal courts, it is never a guarantee. There are challenges, particularly if you have a criminal history, or if the judge is particularly concerned about your case. It is, for this reason, it is important to speak to a federal criminal defense lawyer that can give you the best chance of success. Call Our Chicago Federal Criminal Defense Attorney Today

Being charged with a federal offense is very scary, but you do have rights. At the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel, our skilled Chicago federal criminal defense attorney can ensure they are upheld. One of the biggest rights you have is the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. We will emphasize this right and aggressively argue in your favor to give you the best chance of pretrial release, which will help when building your defense. If you have been charged with a federal crime, call us today at 312-629-0669 or contact us online to arrange a free consultation.


Posted by on in Federal Crimes
Illionois defense attorney,  Illinois criminal defense lawyer, IL hate crime lawyerProtests have erupted all over the country with protesters calling for equality after the death of George Floyd, an unarmed African-American man who was killed while in police custody. Although many of the protests have remained peaceful, looting has also occurred in many cities. Buildings have been burned down, storefronts have been vandalized, and mass theft has occurred. Protesters and looters alike have both been arrested with many asking whether looting is a federal crime. The answer to that question is that it depends on the facts of a specific case. While some of the crimes that result from looting may be charged as a federal offense, many people are also criticizing law enforcement for overcharging behavior that otherwise would not be considered federal jurisdiction. Offenses Associated with Looting Looting in and of itself is not a criminal term, but a person may be charged with a specific act that results from looting. The most common offenses associated with looting include:
  • Possession of destructive devices
  • Unregistered firearms
  • Interstate commerce violations
  • Malicious mischief
  • Arson
  • Destruction of government property
Many of these offenses have both federal and state definitions, which is why so many are arguing that the individuals charged with these offenses should be charged at the state level and not the federal. There are instances, however, in which an offense may move into federal jurisdiction. When Does a Crime Become a Federal Offense? Differentiating between state and federal crimes is often complicated. This is particularly true in terms of looting because there are so many different offenses, and different situations, that could apply. The three main scenarios that could result in a looting offense becoming a federal crime include when:
  • There is damage to federal government property: Any crime that involves property of the federal government can be charged as a federal offense. When damage, such as arson, is done to the property, or an offense is committed on federal property, such as theft, these offenses may be charged on the federal level.
  • A federal agent made the arrest: Any time a federal agent makes an arrest, the crime can be charged as a federal offense. For example, if an agent for the Department of Homeland Security arrested someone in connection to looting, the individual may be charged with a federal offense.
  • The circumstances around the arrest are complex: Some criminal cases are simply much more complex than others. When this is the case, federal agents may decide to take the case and it then becomes part of federal jurisdiction.
When any of these situations apply and someone is charged with a federal crime, they are likely facing much more serious consequences than individuals charged with a state crime. Charged with a Crime? Our Chicago Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer can Help

Federal charges are very serious and as such, a strong defense is needed for them. If you have been charged with a federal offense, our experienced Chicago federal criminal defense lawyer at the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel is here to help. Attorney Garfinkel knows the defenses available for federal offenses and will use them effectively to give you the best chance of beating the charges. When you need solid legal advice, call us at 312-629-0669 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.


Illionois defense attorney,  Illinois criminal defense lawyerBillions of people use search engines such as Google every day to look up information, videos, local businesses, and more. Most searches conducted are fairly innocent and will not attract the interest of federal authorities, such as the FBI. Unfortunately, there are some search terms that could catch their attention, and that may even leave you facing federal criminal charges. It is important to know what these search terms are, as even just searching for mere interest's sake may not provide a valid defense. Child Pornography Generally speaking, viewing pornography online is not a criminal act. However, when pornographic material depicts children under the age of 18, it is considered child pornography, a federal offense that state and federal law enforcement officials take very seriously. Searching for child pornography, even if you do not view it, may also be considered a crime as those searches will remain in your history and could technically mean that you were in possession of the material. In some cases, a person may view pornographic material depicting children by accident. Still, proving your actions were accidental is extremely challenging. Other Illegal Searches Although child pornography may be the most commonly thought of search that is illegal, there are other terms that are considered illegal as well. Any term related to terrorist acts, such as how to build a bomb, are also flagged by federal authorities and are heavily investigated. Agencies such as the FBI will likely look at the rest of your search history to try and determine if you were engaging in illegal activity. Copyright material is also found extensively online. In fact, most of the content online is protected by federal law. Streaming this material or downloading it to your computer is also considered a criminal offense, as it violates federal law. Penalties for Illegal Searches The penalties for conducting an illegal search, if convicted, will vary depending on the actual offense committed. Child pornography and searches related to terrorism acts carry the heaviest sentences, with jail time and high fines likely possibilities. Many people think that violating copyright law may not be a major offense, but that crime too, can result in heavy penalties. Fines associated with violating copyright law are quite steep, and it is possible to face jail time, as well. Any time someone is accused of conducting an illegal search, their computer will likely be seized so law enforcement can delve deeper into their history. Individuals will also be questioned extensively, and perhaps even pressured or coerced into admitting that they committed an act when they did no such thing. Our Chicago Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer is Here to Help

Few people consider that conducting a search online could result in criminal charges. Unfortunately, it happens all too frequently. If you have been accused of conducting an illegal online search and are facing charges, call our skilled Chicago federal criminal defense lawyer at the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel today. Attorney Garfinkel knows that not everyone charged with a federal crime is guilty, and he has the necessary experience to help defendants beat the most serious federal charges. Call us at 312-629-0669 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation and to learn more about how he can help.


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 lawyerPharmacists help people every day, providing the necessary medication that helps patients with their illnesses and injuries. Few pharmacists expect to receive a target letter or a federal subpoena and when they do, it is easy to imagine the worst-case scenarios. While pharmacists are often the target of prescription drug fraud investigations, it is important not to panic. There are defenses available for these cases and ways you can protect yourself.

Becoming Involved in the Government’s Investigation

Once you learn that you are under federal investigation, it is easy to want to wait it out, hope for the best, and see what happens. This is a big mistake. The Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) are overzealous in their investigations and they cannot go unchecked. A lawyer can ensure that the investigation is being conducted in accordance with the law and that you do not provide more to the investigators than you are legally obligated to.

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