Keith J. Scherer - Attorney at Law

My Office

Welcome to my law office. If you’re in trouble with the legal system, you should call me for a consultation. I am a trial attorney specializing in criminal defense and handling criminal cases throughout Chicagoland and the outlying counties. As one of the nation’s premiere military criminal defense lawyers, I also defend military personnel at installations throughout the United States and overseas. I served two tours in the Air Force, first as a Russian Linguist and then as an attorney in the JAG Corps.

When your career is on the line and your freedom is at stake, you can call me for a free consultation. I have represented quality people in state, federal and military court for many years. I’m sensitive to both the criminal and broader social consequences of a criminal case. Rather than seek publicity, I prefer to protect my clients’ privacy as much as possible, and I’m committed to discreet representation. I’m also committed to honoring the highest professional standards, inside and outside the courtroom.

Decent people sometimes find themselves encountering a problem with the legal system. As a Chicago criminal defense lawyer it has been my privilege to represent them in their dispute.

Federal, State, & Military Court

My practice as a Chicago federal criminal defense attorney concentrates on white-collar crime, government contract fraud, child pornography, conspiracy, wire and mail fraud, extortion and bribery, drug offenses, and all other criminal charges. I also help people who have been asked to cooperate in federal investigations, including grand jury proceedings. As a state criminal defense lawyer and military criminal defense attorney, I represent people accused of larceny, theft, sexual assault, possession of child pornography, drug offenses, computer crime, and violent crimes. In addition to felony cases, I handle DUI hearings, traffic court, misdemeanors, and juvenile delinquency. In January of 2011, I was added to the Honor Roll of appointed federal criminal defense attorneys in the 7th Circuit.

Forensic Experts, Cops, & Cross-Examination

Criminal cases often turn on your criminal defense attorney’s ability to cross-examine key witnesses, and two of the primary targets of cross-examination are experts and the police. The complex nature of my cases enables me to work with experts in a wide variety of scientific disciplines, including forensic psychology, computer and media forensics, pathology, and toxicology. Because of my ongoing interaction with experts, I am able to stay current with scientific and legal developments in these specialized areas. This helps me execute effective cross-examinations and identify which experts might be able to help you win your case.

Over the past decade as a criminal defense attorney I have developed numerous contacts in law enforcement, including the FBI, ATF, ICE, Postal Inspector, and military investigative divisions. Through these relationships and constant interaction with investigators in my cases, I keep up on investigative and interrogation techniques, which helps me assess whether the policework in my cases has been done fairly and by the book. It also helps me identify the government agents who can be trusted, and those who can’t.

Writing

Along with Attorney Juliet Boyd, I wrote “Finding Pornography on the Family Computer,” an essay that appeared in the Spring 2011 edition of the Family Advocate Magazine. The essay was also included in the March/April 2012 issue of GPSolo magazine, as one the best articles published by the ABA in 2011. Outside of my legal work, I write about baseball. Over the past decade, I have contributed articles to a number of print and online publications, including Baseball Prospectus, ESPN, The Hardball Times, and Bill James Online. I brought together my backgrounds in baseball analysis and law as a media consultant during the prosecution of Barry Bonds, and in 2006 I contributed a chapter to Juice: The Real Story of Baseball’s Drug Problems, by Will Carroll.

White Collar Crimes

The category of white-collar crime encompasses a wide variety of alleged misconduct:

  • Mortgage fraud
  • Honest services fraud, kickback schemes
  • Bribery, extortion, conspiracy, money laundering
  • Medicare fraud, health care fraud, insurance fraud
  • Wire fraud, securities and tax fraud, mail fraud
  • Internet crime, computer hacking
  • Counterfeiting, forgery
  • Public corruption

Whatever form they take, these cases are usually very complicated. All by themselves the allegations can be confusing, and the cases can get more baffling as they go along. A white-collar prosecution is often based on electronic communications and storage, in addition to complex paper documents. Your attorney needs to understand the rules of evidence and their particular applications to this kind of evidence. He needs to understand media forensics and financial issues well enough to identify important issues and have them analyzed by a trusted expert. In my white-collar practice I collaborate with highly-trained investigators, forensic accountants, and experts in computer forensics to evaluate the government’s evidence, and uncover favorable evidence ignored or missed by investigators and prosecutors.  

Most white-collar cases are prosecuted in federal courts. The federal justice system is significantly different from state court, and your attorney needs to have a lot of experience defending cases in federal court in order to ensure you’ll get the representation you need when the limitless power of the federal government bears down on you. He needs to understand how federal judges and juries can be different from their counterparts in state court. He also needs to have an excellent reputation among judges and the prosecutors in the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The substantial majority of my practice is devoted to criminal defense in the federal court system, including military jurisdictions. In addition to trial work, I provide white-collar defense by representing clients in grand jury proceedings and internal investigations. For a client whose criminal case involves international issues, I will handle all communication with the Department of State, foreign ministries and consulates, and all law enforcement agencies.

Sexual Assault

An allegation of sexual assault can have life-ruining consequences, even if it’s a “he said, she said” case. What a lot of people don’t understand is that what “she said” counts as evidence. A jury can convict someone based on nothing other than the testimony of one witness. Fortunately, what really happened is rarely crystal clear. A typical sexual assault case can give your attorney a number of issues to work with:

  • Overindulgence in drugs or alcohol
  • Biased, lying, or motivated witnesses
  • Contradictory forensic evidence
  • Impaired memories
  • Shoddy investigations

Your attorney has to be able to develop these issues through cross-examination of the government’s witnesses and creative uses of the rules of evidence. He’ll need to have a thorough understanding of police procedures and interrogation tactics, and a history of working with experts in alcohol and drug toxicology, forensic psychiatry, and sexual assault medical examinations. Fortunately, a large part of my practice has been dedicated to defending this kind of case and working with – and against – experts, and I have a proven record of success in getting these cases dismissed before they get to court, and winning ones that go to trial.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the way your attorney carries himself will reflect upon you, so he needs to conduct himself like a professional. That’s true in all cases, but it’s especially important in a situation like this. Unfortunately, many attorneys will try to bluff and bully their way through a sexual assault case. One of their most common tactics is to put the victim on trial, even if the victim is a child. It might sound like a good idea, and you see it on TV all the time, but it can antagonize a jury and end up destroying a winnable case. Usually, it’s best to put the evidence on trial, not the victim. To do that, your attorney needs to be able to see the case from multiple perspectives, not just yours. He needs to understand why people lie and how they can remember things that never happened. In the best-case scenario your attorney can win the case without ever asking you to testify. I have a proven record of success doing exactly that.

Computer Crimes Involving Children

An allegation involving child pornography can ruin your life, regardless of how the files got onto the computer. These allegations are usually grossly exaggerated, and there are a number of ways a person can unintentionally end up with these files on his computer. Even if the accusation is false, you will be presumed guilty at first, and you will be abandoned some of the people you thought were your friends. You might find that the most important person in your life is your attorney, so make sure you got someone who has experience defending this kind of case.

Unfortunately, most attorneys don’t want to represent someone accused of having anything to do with any alleged crime against a child, including possession of child pornography. Fortunately, I handle a lot of these cases so I stay current on the ever-changing state of the law in this area. Like the law, the state of media forensics continues to evolve, and by working with my experts and doing a lot of these cases, I make sure my working knowledge of the science is up-to-date. I also have the benefit of having prosecuted these cases before becoming a defense attorney, so I know how the government’s attorneys will prepare for the case.

Assault And Battery

If you have been accused of assault, battery, rape, domestic violence, child abuse, or any kind of violent crime, the state can prosecute you even if the other person doesn’t want to press charges. The police respond to a call involving a physical altercation or a crime against a child, they will usually make an arrest, especially when it comes to domestic violence, and they’ll leave rest to the judicial process.

Even a small argument can be blown out of proportion and result in criminal charges and a conviction. It’s common for cops, prosecutors, judges, and juries to automatically side with the person making the allegation. In addition to an interrogation, the police can use any number of tactics to get a statement that can be used in court: staged text messages, emails, phone calls, and recorded meetings. The state can pull out all the stops to win a case like this, so you’ll need an attorney who understands and can anticipate the complicated issues that occur in a case like this, and who can help you avoid being tricked into incriminating yourself.

Many of these cases are based on false or exaggerated allegations. False accusations of spousal abuse, spousal rape, or child abuse can be motivated by anger, bias, and revenge. Many of these cases have a family angle, and an accusation like this can be an attempt to gain the upper hand in a separation, divorce, or child custody dispute. I understand the complicated and sensitive emotional components of this kind of case, and for many years I have been successfully defending my clients against these allegations.

Misdemeanors & Property Crimes

There is no such thing as “just a misdemeanor.” A misdemeanor conviction shows up on your record and any comprehensive background check by a prospective employer, landlord, or lender. The potential sentences for a misdemeanor conviction can be very serious, going as high as 364 days in jail and a $2,500 fine.

Theft is one of the most common misdemeanor charges. Many cases involving retail theft or shoplifting can be charged as either a felony or misdemeanor. For a fist offense, it’s usually a misdemeanor. But if you have a prior record of any similar offense, it makes it much more likely that the case will be prosecuted as a felony. With or without any prior record, your primary objective will be to keep the case at the misdemeanor level. At the misdemeanor level you’ll be looking at lower punishments, a less-serious criminal record, and the opportunity to resolve the case through alternatives that might allow you to have the case expunged from your record.

One of the most important things in misdemeanor court, regardless of the charge, is how you carry yourself. Your attorney needs to be comfortable in the courtroom and know how to conduct himself like a professional. Misdemeanor courts are usually very busy and crowded, and knowing how to handle yourself in that environment is critically important. You can’t afford to have an attitude or look like a slob, and your attorney will hurt your case if he acts like a jackass. Your attorney needs to know how to deal respectfully with judges and prosecutors under those conditions while still aggressively advocating for you.

Traffic And DUI

An arrest for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol threatens to ruin your reputation and cost you your job. You can end up with a criminal record, revocation of your driver’s license, jail time, and thousands of dollars of fines and costs. The loss of your driver's license can cost you your job and place substantial burdens on your personal life. Your attorney will need to know the law, rules, punishments, and textbook police procedures. He’ll need to be able to read a case file and thoroughly analyze important issues, such as whether the traffic stop was valid in the first place. This won’t be a problem for most of the attorneys who practice DUI defense.

But it’s even more important that your attorney can go beyond the books and win the case in court. He needs to have experience doing jury trials and contested administrative hearings, and he needs to know how to cross-examine cops, eye-witnesses, and the state’s experts. This is true not just for felony DUI cases, but misdemeanor DUIs and license-suspension hearings as well. Most criminal cases, DUIs included, are resolved by a plea deal. Sometimes a plea is the right way to go, but not always. You might have to take your case to trial. Many criminal defense attorneys have very little experience doing jury trials, but my practice is focused on jury cases. Not every DUI case needs to go that far, but your attorney needs to be confident that he can do it if necessary.

"Anything you say will be misquoted and then used against you." Before giving up any of your rights, talk to an attorney who specializes in criminal law. This is not the time to try to talk yourself out of trouble.

Quick tips on how to not talk to the authorities:

  • You don’t have to make a statement to any government agent, including the police.
  • You have a right to talk to an attorney, whether or not you committed a crime.
  • You have a right to have an attorney by your side when you talk to any investigator.
  • You don’t have to consent to a search of your home, car, bag, computer, or bodily fluids.
  • You don’t have to submit to a polygraph examination.
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"You don’t just need a lawyer, you need the right lawyer. Choosing the right lawyer may be the most important decision you’ll have to make."

Quick tips on how to find an attorney:

  • Hire an attorney who specializes in criminal defense. A criminal court room is no place for any other kind of attorney.
  • Hire an attorney who looks and acts like a professional. Everything your attorney says and does reflects on you. If he looks bad, you’ll look bad.
  • Hire an attorney you trust. You don’t have to like your criminal defense attorney, but you have to trust him to take care of you.
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If you are facing criminal charges or are being investigated, you need professional representation immediately. Contact my office now for a free consultation either by filling out the form below, or by calling (773) 774-6741. I will be in touch with you promptly.

Contact Information

location map
6585 N. Avondale Ave
Suite D
Chicago, IL 60631

Tel: (773) 774-6741

Fax: (773) 724-2083

Email: keith@keithscherer.com

Disclaimer:

The information provided on this website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. Anyone who has a legal problem should seek the advice of an attorney. No one should act on the basis of any content included in this website without seeking legal advice from an attorney. Your review and use of this website is at your own risk. Any representative case I present on the website is for your information only. Each legal case is unique, with its own specific factual and legal circumstances. Nothing on this site is meant to guarantee or predict a similar result in any future case I may do. While my firm has made every effort to include up-to-date information on the website, the law can change quickly. Please understand that information contained on this website may not yet reflect the most recent legal developments. My firm reserves the right to revise or update the information on this website at any time, without notice, and disclaims any liability for your use of information or statements of law contained in this website, or the performance of the website generally. I do not commit to representing you based on your visit to this website or response to my offer of a free consultation. No one can establish an attorney-client relationship with my firm except by retaining the firm with a fee, according to the terms of a written and signed agreement.