Schaumburg Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer
The tiny, underdeveloped village of Schaumburg began growing rapidly following World War II. Federal power also evolved and became more encompassing at about the same time. In both areas, growth has been a mixed bag.
A national publication recently named the new Schaumburg one of the best places to live in the country. But there have been some growing pains along the way. Similarly, federal control over the nation’s healthcare, financial, and criminal justice systems has mostly been a good thing. But there have definitely been some bumps in the road.
At The Law Offices of Vadim A. Glozman, our mission is to smooth out these bumps in the road, especially where individual rights are concerned. We believe that the growth of federal power should never threaten the liberties we all hold dear. We also firmly believe in the principle that everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty. So, in federal criminal defense matters, we build on that presumption of innocence.
By aggressively challenging the state’s evidence, we reduce the amount of compelling proof available at trial. As the risk of a trial increases for federal prosecutors, their willingness to make favorable deals increases as well. Either way, whether the matter goes to trial or settles out of court, our clients win.
Violent Federal Crimes
In the post-9/11 world, many federal law enforcement agencies, such as the FBI, have shifted their focus to terrorism matters. However, these agencies still aggressively enforce federal laws prohibiting violent crime, especially in the following areas:
- Gang Activity: The FBI tracks over 30,000 violent street, prison, and motorcycle gangs in the United States. All these organizations use violence to control their members and expand their influence into areas like money laundering, human trafficking, fraud, and robbery. Prosecutors use a number of sophisticated legal tools, such as the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) law, against these gangs. So, even a low-level member could be charged with innumerable serious crimes.
- Crimes Against Children: The vague 1932 “Lindbergh Law” gives the FBI almost unlimited discretion to investigate any unexplained child disappearance. If Junior participates in optional drills after soccer practice without telling anyone, the FBI could bring his mother and father in for questioning. Additionally, lawmakers have poured resources into child sex crimes investigations. The government expects to see a return on this investment, in the form of arrests and convictions.
- Homicide and Assault: If such a crime may have occurred on federal property, including an Indian reservation, or a government worker was a victim, federal law enforcement authorities quickly step in. The punishments for these crimes are very stiff in state courts. They are even more severe in federal court. Furthermore, convicted defendants usually serve their sentences in remote facilities where there is no possibility of parole.
Other violent federal crimes include bank robbery and international violent crimes. Expansive federal bank robbery power goes back to the 1930s and the John Dillinger gang. As for international crime, if it occurred on U.S. property or involved a U.S. citizen, any local residents with any connection to the offense could find themselves in an Illinois federal court.
Nonviolent Federal Crimes
Most federal crimes are nonviolent crimes. Usually, if the crime affects interstate commerce in any way, it becomes a federal crime. If a document, financial transaction, or electronic signal crossed state lines, federal authorities quickly become involved. Even when the defendant picked a lock that was manufactured out of state, that’s interstate commerce as well. Some specific matters our Schaumburg federal criminal defense lawyers handle include:
- Tax Fraud: The IRS audit rate has dropped sharply in recent years. However, the IRS still scrutinizes tax returns. Bureaucrats normally assume any substantial error is intentional and therefore illegal under federal criminal laws.
- Financial Institution Fraud: Loan and mortgage fraud are the most common crimes in this category. Basically, fraud is an intentional misrepresentation of current facts designed to bring about illegal financial gain.
- Wire Fraud: These charges usually accompany other federal criminal charges. Every lick of a stamp, call over a telephone line, or click of a send button is a separate count of mail fraud. Therefore, it’s not uncommon to see wire fraud indictments with hundreds of separate counts.
- Drug Crimes: These offenses could be federal or state crimes, in most cases. Typically, federal authorities use the separate sovereignties exception to the double jeopardy rule to bring cases in what would otherwise be state law matters.
- Money Laundering: To obtain convictions, prosecutors must do more than follow a financial trail. They must also prove the defendant knew the source of the funds and intentionally used multiple transactions to launder these funds. Unusual activity on gift and prepaid debit cards often prompt these investigations.
Largely because of the high burden of proof, these cases are often difficult to prove in court. More on that below. Furthermore, in many cases, prosecutors lose these cases before they start.
Almost all violent and non-violent federal crimes involve large, multi-agency investigations. Frequently, investigators in different law enforcement divisions don’t communicate with each other very well. As a result, dropping-the-baton procedural errors are rather common in these cases.
Often, the mistakes begin before authorities even make an arrest. The Constitution’s Fourth Amendment includes a search warrant requirement. These warrants must be based on probable cause.
If authorities don’t have a warrant, or a judge invalidates the warrant, authorities must rely on a narrow search warrant exception, such as:
- Plain View: If officers see drugs, weapons, or other contraband in plain view, they don’t need a search warrant to seize it. This exception only works if the officer had the legal right to be in that place at that time.
- Exigent Circumstances: If authorities reasonably believe someone is in trouble, perhaps because they are responding to a disturbance call, they may enter a building or dwelling without a warrant, conduct a security sweep, and seize any illegal items they find in plain view.
- Consent: Owners, or apparent owners, may voluntarily consent to property searches. Apparent owners are people like roommates whose names are not on the lease. Arguably, if officers threaten to get a warrant if the owner doesn’t consent, the agreement isn’t voluntary.
The Fourth Amendment also limits the controversial stop-and-frisk techniques that federal officers use from time to time.
Immediately after officers have the defendant in custody, the Fifth Amendment’s right to remain silent kicks in.
Custody does not mean wearing handcuffs or being in the back of a police car. Instead, custody begins when the defendant does not reasonably feel free to leave. Most people don’t feel free to leave when officers initially approach them.
Additionally, the right to remain silent includes more than verbal silence. It also includes physical silence. Defendants need not perform tests, pose for pictures, or appear in lineups.
Procedural defenses are often effective in criminal cases. But they are not always available. Occasionally, investigators and other law enforcement authorities do everything right. A substantive defense, which usually hinges on the high burden of proof in these matters, is almost always available.
Prosecutors must establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. And, they must have that level of proof on every element of the offense. Drug possession crimes, which are extremely common in federal court, are a good example.
Usually, prosecutors have no problem establishing proximity. For example, if the defendant was in a motor vehicle, any object in the passenger area, even if it wasn’t within arm’s reach, usually meets the proximity requirement. But prosecutors must still prove knowledge and control. Therefore, a defendant could literally be sitting on a stash of drugs and not legally possess them.
Other cases rely almost entirely on circumstantial evidence, such as eyewitness testimony. Many people assume human memory fades slowly over time. But that’s not the way the mind usually works. Most people almost immediately forget everything they see and hear.
Reach Out to an Experienced Cook County Federal Criminal Defense Attorney
Federal criminal charges are scary, but a number of successful resolutions are available. For a confidential consultation with an experienced federal criminal defense lawyer in Schaumburg, contact The Law Offices of Vadim A. Glozman by calling 312-726-2015. We routinely handle matters in Will County and nearby jurisdictions.
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