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Illinois federal crime defense attorneyEarlier this month, the U.S. Attorney’s Office filed charges against a Chicago man for trafficking cocaine and transferring a loaded submachine gun. While it is fairly common to hear about drug and gun charges being filed together, machine gun charges are actually kind of rare. In fact, only about 7 percent of the more than 65,000 federal gun charges filed between 2008 and 2017 involved a machine gun.

A History of U.S. Machine Gun Laws

One partial explanation for the small number of machine-gun charges is that the federal government started cracking down on machine gun ownership following the Prohibition Era. In 1934, Congress passed the National Firearms Act, which requires anyone who buys an automatic weapon, short-barreled rifle or shotgun, or silencer to register the item, pay a $200 tax, and complete a number of other bureaucratic steps.

A half-century later, after a number of high-profile assassinations, Congress passed the Gun Control Act of 1968, and then updated it in the 1980s amid an uptick in crime. The latter limited machine gun transfers by essentially prohibiting the production of machine guns after 1986.

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Illinois federal criminal defense attorneyDuring the social unrest in the summer of 2020, gun stores were a popular target for burglars and looters. In most cases, thieves arrived in groups, gained entrance by smashing through the storefront, and proceeded to ransack the store. Using that method, they could often steal dozens of firearms in a short amount of time.

Most gun stores have alarm systems and surveillance cameras, and they are required by federal law to keep detailed records of their inventory. Before any of that, though, gun stores need a federal firearms license (FFL) in order to operate, which puts them in federal jurisdiction.

Gun thefts from a store with an FFL are primarily investigated by agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). Suspects identified in such an investigation could face federal charges such as stealing firearms, possessing stolen guns, and even conspiracy.

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Illinois federal criminal defense lawyerA federal crime is any offense that violates United States federal laws. These crimes are prosecuted by government agencies and can come with harsher punishments than state crimes. If you were recently charged with a federal offense, the steps you take afterward can have a large impact on the outcome of your case, including your chances of avoiding conviction or reducing your sentence.

Steps to Take If You Are Facing a Federal Criminal Charge

Facing a federal criminal charge can definitely be a frightening ordeal. However, it is important to maintain your composure and take the necessary steps to protect your rights and build a strong defense.

  • Understand whether you could face both federal and state charges. If you violated both federal and state laws, you may be up against both federal and state charges. This means that even if you get convicted or acquitted of a state crime, the government can still charge you with a federal crime. Knowing the stakes can help you choose the most appropriate response.

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Illinois federal criminal defense lawyerIf you have been charged with a federal drug crime, it is crucial to have a skilled Illinois criminal attorney on your side. If convicted of a federal drug crime, you may face serious penalties, such as prison time and heavy fines. A lawyer will help you build a strong defense and protect your legal rights.

When Drug Crimes Become Federal Offenses

Some drug crimes are charged at the state level while others are charged at the federal level. You will likely be charged federally if you commit a drug offense on federal property, such as a national park. You may also be charged federally if you are caught manufacturing or trafficking illegal drugs, especially across state lines.

Types of Federal Drug Crimes

Federal drug crimes come with penalties beyond prison time. If you get convicted of a federal drug crime, you will have a permanent criminal record, making it more difficult to get a job and place to live. Here are several types of federal drug crimes:

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Illinois federal crime defense lawyerMany crimes have the potential to be charged at either the state or federal level. Prosecutors must come to an agreement as to which entity has jurisdiction, or whether both entities have jurisdiction, before they can proceed with charging a crime. Kidnapping is one of the crimes that can be charged in both state and federal courts. Federal kidnapping charges can be extremely serious and can end up landing you in prison for many, many years. If you have been charged with kidnapping at any level, you need assistance from a skilled Illinois kidnapping defense attorney.

Understanding Federal Kidnapping Crimes

According to the United States Code, kidnapping occurs when a person seizes, confines, abducts, or takes and holds for ransom any person. For the act to be considered a federal crime, one or more of the following elements must also be true:

  • The kidnapper transported the victim across state or country lines.

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