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Portland Federal Criminal Defense Law Blog

Two ways police can search your computer without a warrant

Generally speaking, the Fourth Amendment gives you protections against unwanted searches of your computer, tablet,or phone, the same way it protects you against searches of your home. Police can search against your will if they get a warrant first, showing that they have a reason to do so. They cannot just randomly search without first taking the proper legal steps.

There are some big exceptions, though. Two of them are as follows:

Oregon teen facing bank robbery, theft, possession charges

An Oregon City teen is facing federal charges after admitting to committing a bank robbery on April 6. He is also facing theft charges in two different counties to which he has pleaded guilty.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the young man went into a Chase Bank located in a Fred Meyer store located in Beaverton. The FBI says that he handed a teller a note demanding $1,000.

Len Bias charges require experienced legal representation

Most people aren't familiar with Len Bias drug charges until they find themselves facing them. The federal Len Bias law was passed by Congress back in the 1980s to impose mandatory minimum sentences in certain drug cases.

It's named for a college basketball player who fatally overdosed on cocaine just two days after being drafted by the Boston Celtics. The law requires mandatory minimum sentences of at least 20 years for anyone convicted of distributing drugs that cause death or serious injury. Even people who had little if anything to do with the drugs in a particular case can find themselves considered part of the "conspiracy."

What is the Foreign Agents Registration Act?

People who follow political news have heard a lot recently about something called the Foreign Agents Registration Act, more commonly known as FARA. Two former associates of President Trump have or indicated that they will be registering as foreign agents with the Department of Justice. Both men, Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort, reportedly admitted to lobbying on behalf of Russia without notifying the DOJ, which is a violation of federal law.

The FARA was enacted in 1938 in to mandate lobbyists and others working for a foreign government to make those ties public. The goal was to uncover any foreign influence on U.S. campaigns. Congress was concerned about Nazi propaganda making its way into American politics in the years prior to America's involvement in World War II.

Financial manager pleads guilty to defrauding basketball star

There have been a number of widely-reported cases of sports and entertainment stars losing money due to poor investments and less-than-honest financial advisors. Some prominent celebrities lost millions to Bernie Madoff, for example.

Basketball superstar Tim Duncan, who just retired after nearly two decades with the San Antonio Spurs, fighting many a battle on the basketball court with the Portland Trail Blazers, is among those who reportedly lost millions of dollars.

Understanding the elements of robbery if you are accused

When you are charged with a crime, you are not automatically considered guilty of that accusation. Our court system is set up to be as fair as possible to all, though obviously nothing is perfect. The fallibility of people and human-made systems is why it's so important that you don't trust completely in the system and ensure you have an experienced professional on your side.

If you are facing a robbery charge, then it's important to understand what normally constitutes a robbery. If you can show that all those elements aren't evidenced, then you have a chance at beating the charge or pleading to a lower charge. For example, a robbery requires that someone takes something while having the intent to steal it -- accidentally walking off with something or legitimately borrowing something doesn't count.

What makes identity theft 'aggravated?'

Identity theft has been around since the days where people would steal checking account statements out of a mailbox or someone's driver's license or credit card. The victim could suffer financial damage, not to mention significant inconvenience, to be sure. However, with so much of our business and personal activity now done online, the potential loss, and therefore the penalties, are much greater.

While identity theft is a federal crime, it's also a state crime. Here in Oregon, a conviction for identity theft is an automatic Class C felony. It carries a "presumptive sentence" of 13 months in prison. However, that sentence can be longer for those who have previous identity theft convictions. It may also be extended if credit card fraud, forgery or a computer crime was involved.

Potentially dangerous tweets can bring criminal charges

A type of cybercrime that marks "a new era," according to one computer scientist has gained nationwide attention recently. A 29-year-old man was arrested for sending a tweet to Newsweek's Kurt Einchenwald that was intended to cause the famed journalist, who suffers from epilepsy, to have a seizure.

It accomplished its intended task when he opened the tweet, which contained a flashing image, back in December. According to Eichenwald, he'd received a similar tweet just a few weeks before. He says he dropped his iPad as soon as he saw it, so avoided any harm that time.

Defense plans might require several components

We recently discussed how fraud can come from creative accounting. The fact here is that you have to do everything on the up and up when you are dealing with the finances of a business, or even your own finances. Doing anything that might be construed as fraud can start an investigation.

When you are facing these types of charges, you will likely have to go through a lot of evidence. These charges usually come after an in depth investigation. You must carefully consider each piece of evidence and how it can impact your defense.

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