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Violent Crimes

Crown Point Violent Crime Attorney in Northwest Indiana

No crimes are more thoroughly investigated by police or aggressively prosecuted than violent crimes like murder, assault, and robbery.

For this reason, violent crimes are often the most complicated cases to defend, with mountains of evidence, including video footage, cell phone records, multiple witness statements, medical records, forensic examinations, and DNA tests.

Every case of a violent crime is different, but they all require an attorney with the knowledge, skill, and dedication to sift through those mountains of evidence and make sure the real story is told.

Stracci Law Group has successfully handled hundreds of violent crime cases and brings to the table nearly 80 years of combined experience defending clients accused of such offenses.

We aggressively challenge the methods behind forensic examinations, such as ballistics comparisons and blood spatter analysis, and know how to combat the overzealous use of “scientific evidence” like gunpowder residue and cell phone tower analysis.

Our attorneys work tirelessly to protect our clients from the damage caused by witnesses with an ax to grind and suggestive identification techniques.

What Is Considered a Violent Crime?

Crimes of violence like murder, domestic abuse, robbery, kidnapping, gang violence, and carjacking involve some of the most serious criminal charges an individual can face. Facing the prospect of life in prison, or even the death penalty, can be harrowing for those charged with these crimes, as well as for their loved ones.

Many types of violent crimes are charged and prosecuted in federal court. Violent offenses often involve actual physical harm to a person or the threat of or attempt to inflict physical harm.

Some violent crimes are prosecuted in state courts, but when these offenses cross state lines, occur on federal property, involve the internet, or otherwise affect interstate commerce, they're investigated by federal agencies like the FBI and prosecuted in federal courts.

Types of Federal and State Violent Crimes We Handle

If you've been accused of a violent crime, you may not know the actual allegations until you've been charged and arrested.

Almost all violent crimes are felonies that can result in long prison sentences. Some of the most common violent crime charges include:

Murder, Felony Murder, and Voluntary Manslaughter

18 U.S.C. §1111 defines murder as “the unlawful killing of a human being with malice aforethought.” Murders can be charged as federal crimes of violence in several circumstances, depending on the status of the victim, where the crime occurred, and other unique facts and circumstances.

The vast majority of federal murder cases are those in which a death occurred during the commission of other violent crimes that are classed as federal offenses, such as:

  • Arson – 18 U.S.C. §844
  • Kidnapping – 18 U.S.C. §1201
  • Racketeering – 18 U.S.C. §1959
  • Bank robbery – 18 U.S.C. §2113
  • Drive-by shooting – 18 U.S.C. §36
  • Carjacking – 18 U.S.C. §2119
  • Robbery of controlled substances – 18 U.S.C. §2118
  • Crime of violence or drug offense involving a firearm – 18 U.S.C. §924(j)
  • Abusive sexual conduct – 18 U.S.C. §§ 2244, 2245
  • Certain child exploitation crimes – 18 U.S.C. §2251(d)
  • RICO, racketeering, and corrupt organizations – 18 U.S.C. §1962
  • Violent crimes in aid of racketeering (VICAR) – 18 U.S.C. §1959

Hobbs Act Robbery and Extortion

The Hobbs Act (18 U.S. Code § 1951) criminalizes obstruction, delay, or impact on commerce by robbery or extortion with the use of actual or threatened violence.

This legislation was passed to target racketeering and organized crime activities, but federal prosecutors now also use it to prosecute armed robbers who victimize businesses like bars, convenience stores, fast-food restaurants, and, in some cases, even drug dealers. 

Bank Robberies, Burglaries, and Larcenies

Federal crimes of violence also include robberies.

Banks, credit unions, and savings and loan associations are federal institutions regulated and insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). Because of this, robbing a bank can be considered a federal violent crime that requires the assistance of a federal violent crimes attorney. 

Furthermore, nearly every case in which a firearm is used, especially those relating to federal violent offenses, is prosecuted in federal court.

Federal crimes involving banks and credit unions include:


Under 18 U.S.C. §1201, kidnapping is defined as seizing, confining, abducting, or carrying away and holding any person for ransom or reward.

Not every kidnapping is a federal offense. To be a federal crime, the kidnapping must have some federal nexus, like transportation across state lines, use of the mail system, or using interstate commerce to commit or further the offense.

While the FBI investigates violent offenses like kidnappings, under the “Lindbergh Law,” it also has jurisdiction to investigate disappearances and kidnappings involving children.

Hostage Taking

Hostage-taking is a violent offense that involves holding a person under the threat of harm with the intent to get another person to take a specific action (e.g., paying a ransom).

18 U.S.C. §1203 defines hostage as seizing or detaining a person while simultaneously threatening to kill, injure, or continue to detain them to get someone else to take some specific action. Hostage-taking charges can result from hijacking or robbery situations where individuals are held during release negotiations.


Carjacking is another federal violent crime. The carjacking statute is used to punish those who take a motor vehicle from another person or entity by force or intimidation with the intent to cause death or serious bodily harm. It defines three separate offenses:

  1. The forceful taking of a vehicle
  2. The forceful taking of a vehicle that results in serious bodily injury
  3. The forceful taking of a vehicle that results in death

When the federal government files violent charges for carjacking resulting in injury or death, it must plead those facts in its indictment.

Carjacking is punishable by up to 15 years in prison. However, if serious bodily injury results, it's punishable by up to 25 years in prison; if death results, the penalty may be any number of years in prison up to life.


Criminal violence can also include threats. A threat is any expressed intention to do something harmful or injurious. Federal violent offenses encompass a variety of criminal threats, including:

Threats to Specific People

Threats Made in Particular Ways

The law regarding threatening communications is ever-evolving. As such, it's wise to retain the services of a federal violent crime defense attorney who keeps abreast of the changing legal scenery.

RICO, Racketeering, and Corrupt Organizations

The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) makes it a federal crime to participate in or make money from racketeering (organized criminal activity). The law was originally enacted to combat syndicates like the mob. Nowadays, though, federal prosecutors use it to prosecute businesses and large, organized street gangs.

Because RICO allows the government to go after all of an organization’s various crimes in one prosecution, RICO cases typically involve a large number of individuals being charged in a single indictment.

To prosecute RICO violations, the government must prove that members of a criminal enterprise (like a street gang) engaged in a pattern of racketeering (ongoing criminal activity) that affected interstate commerce.

RICO is punishable by up to 20 years in prison, but depending on the criminal activity charged, the penalties may quickly escalate.

Violent Crimes in Aid of Racketeering (VICAR)

VICAR makes it a federal offense to commit a crime of violence in aid of racketeering. 

To prosecute VICAR violations, the government must prove that an enterprise affecting interstate commerce engaged in racketeering activity and that a member of the enterprise committed a violent crime to gain entry to, maintain, or increase his position in the enterprise.

Sentencing for VICAR can be up to 30 years in prison. If kidnapping is alleged, the penalty escalates to any term up to life in prison, and murder convictions are punishable by life in prison or death.

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is a serious issue in Indiana, with numerous cases reported every year. The state defines domestic violence as a pattern of behavior in which one person in a relationship uses physical, sexual, or emotional abuse to control the other.

Indiana has strict laws in place to protect domestic violence victims, and those accused of such offenses can face severe penalties.

Penalties for State and Federal Violent Crimes in Northwest Indiana

The penalties for federal violent offenses are significant. There are five classifications of federal felony charges:

  • Class A Felonies: Life imprisonment or the death penalty
  • Class B Felonies: 25 years or more in prison
  • Class C Felonies: Less than 25 years but 10 or more years in prison
  • Class D Felonies: Less than 10 years but 5 or more years in prison
  • Class E Felonies: Less than 5 years but more than 1 year in prison

Along with prison time, individuals convicted of federal violent offenses may be ordered to serve a term of supervised release or probation, complete community service, and pay fines and restitution. 

These charges can be enhanced to higher-level felonies, or the penalties increased with sentencing enhancements in certain circumstances, such as:

  • Use of a firearm
  • Prior unrelated felony convictions
  • Committing the act in furtherance of a criminal gang
  • Targeting a minor victim                

Defense Strategies for Violent Crime Charges in Crown Point, IN

Violent crime defense attorneys can mount many different defenses for those charged with violent offenses. These include:

  • Actual innocence
  • Lack of evidence
  • Mistaken identity
  • Mistake of fact
  • Lack of intent
  • Alibi
  • Self-defense
  • Defense of others
  • Duress/necessity
  • Insanity 
  • Illegally obtained evidence
  • Violation of the right to counsel
  • Withdrawal from the crime
  • Entrapment (one must show that they had no original intent to commit a crime and did so only because law enforcement agents persuaded or coerced them)

Certain defenses, such as alibi, are only available if your violent crime defense attorney provides advance written notice during pretrial proceedings. If your violent crimes lawyer doesn’t provide the required notice, you may be prevented from using it in court.

If you've been indicted or are under investigation for federal violent crime charges, contact the violent crime defense attorneys at Stracci Law Group. We're familiar with all available defenses and can help you deftly navigate criminal violence investigations. 

What to Expect After You've Been Charged with a Violent Crime in Northwest Indiana

Charges of violent crimes often carry high bail bonds that are compounded by "stacking" the bonds for several charges. In the case of murder, the accused isn't entitled to bail until a hearing on a Petition to Let Bail, which is a "mini-trial” held to show that the State's case is weak.

Being stuck in jail can significantly disrupt your life, lead to loss of wages or even your job, and cause financial and emotional hardships to you and your family that you may never be able to recover from.

Bonding out is vital to defending your case.

Even in cases with strong evidence against you, being out on bond gives your legal team a chance to show the judge that you've turned your life around through counseling, education, and employment.

Furthermore, in cases of murder, the preliminary hearing for bail can be a valuable source of inconsistent witness statements and a preview of the evidence that will help us develop a stronger defense.

Stracci Law Group team has the knowledge, skill, and ability to quickly press for an affordable bond or other alternatives to staying in jail and to use bond proceedings to your long-term advantage.

How a Crown Point Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help

Being charged with a federal crime of violence can be a devastating and overwhelming experience. Federal agents and prosecutors will show no sympathy toward you, your alleged offense, or your loved ones, and the general public tends to react negatively to news of violent crimes.

Families of alleged victims will push for maximum penalties. Thus, even if you're innocent, your battle will be difficult, especially if your case receives media attention. 

You risk being subjected to harsh federal penalties, including decades behind bars, life in prison, or even death. That’s all the more reason to hire the right team of federal violent crimes attorneys.

Schedule a Consultation with a Crown Point Violent Crime Attorney

If you or a loved one are facing charges for a crime of violence, contact an Indiana federal violent crimes defense attorney at Stracci Law Group. We're available seven days a week to discuss your legal rights, possible defenses, and options to get charges reduced or dismissed. We serve Crown Point, Gary, Valparaiso, Merrillville, Schererville, Saint John, Hammond, Portage, Lowell, Munster, Chesterton, Michigan City, LaPorte, Knox and Kentland.

Contact Our NWI Violent Crime Defense Lawyers Today

When you hire Stracci Law Group, you get a team of experienced violent crime lawyers with a long history of successfully defending clients against a variety of violent charges and crimes. We work with top investigators and use every resource available to protect your future. Contact the Stracci Law Group defense team today at (219) 754-5534 to set up a consultation with a violent crimes attorney.

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Average rating 5 based on 289 client reviews


"If you got legal issues I highly recommend this company. They got me out of a jam! With all charges dropped. And reasonably priced."
Cliftin Branch, Criminal Case
"I can actually say that Paul is a GREAT LAWYER!! Takes care of business. He got a very big felony dismissed that was hovering over my life for a couple of years and stopped me from doing many things freely, He also got a Dui Dismissed as well as a few other things! My record is now clean. Thank you Paul Stracci!"
Timmy ShellToe, Criminal Case
"I just want to reach out again to thank you. I’m so incredibly grateful for all your help and hard work. We both are!! My entire family is. I could never say thank you enough. In my head, I knew that he was innocent and never intended for any of this to happen. That he was only defending himself but the fact that they charged him and put him in jail was so terrifying. From the very first time I talked to you over the phone and then came in and met you both, I knew God helped me pick the right attorneys. My son was in the very best hands he could be in. Thank you for also putting up with my constant emailing, I couldn’t help myself. I wanted you to have all of the information I had. I will forever be grateful and I will also definitely be telling anyone I know that needs an attorney to come to your firm. I will tell everyone how amazing you gentlemen are for the rest of my life. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!"
Timmy ShellToe, Criminal Case
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Schedule a Consultation About Your Northwest Indiana Violent Crime Case

If you've been arrested for a violent crime in Northwest Indiana, reach out to Stracci Law Group for assistance with your case. We offer comprehensive and confidential consultations, and we want you to feel confident that we're the best choice to defend your legal rights. Violent crimes carry significant and potentially life-altering consequences for you and your family. To discuss your case with the Stracci Law Group team, contact us at (219) 754-5534.
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What Happens if You're Convicted of a Violent Crime in NWI?

If you're convicted of a crime of violence, you'll most likely begin serving your sentence immediately. You'll carry out your term in a prison, which may be out of state or a considerable distance from your home. Depending on the circumstances, you may appeal your conviction or seek post-conviction relief.

Can Being a Part of a Criminal Organization Affect My Violent Crime Case?

As part of their investigation and subsequent prosecution, the government will evaluate whether you were part of a criminal organization and whether you committed a crime for the benefit of that organization.

Criminal organization activities can also be a violation of state crimes. Indiana has enacted several statutes prohibiting the activities of criminal gangs, including recruitment activities.

What Is Considered a Deadly Weapon?

The term "deadly weapon" can refer to a wide range of objects, instruments, chemical substances, or devices that can be used in a way that's likely to cause death or great bodily harm.

Deadly weapons include traditional weapons like firearms and knives but can include aircraft, boats, and vehicles, as well as household items like chainsaws, golf clubs, and baseball bats.

In one common law school example, Acers v. United States, the Supreme Court determined that a large rock was, in fact, a deadly weapon.

Do I Need a Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer if I'm Under Investigation for a Federal Offense, or Can a Normal Attorney Help?

An overwhelming majority of criminal prosecutions are state crimes. Federal violent offense charges are serious and take much longer to resolve than comparable state cases.

If you’re facing federal charges for criminal violence, you need a violent crime defense lawyer with a proven track record who understands violent crime laws and the federal court system, especially the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.