Gambling is generally considered a form of leisure and is widely practiced globally. Its origins can be traced back thousands of years before written history, and it has evolved to become a multi-million industry.
Many countries view the gambling industry as a positive driving force for economic growth. However, most also recognize the detrimental effects of gambling as a vice to people, communities, and society in general. For this reason, governments impose laws that regulate specific forms of gambling activity and monetary transactions associated with it.
These laws are currently in force in the United States, both in a federal and state-wide scope. States other than Utah and Hawaii allow specific gambling operations, including state-run lotteries. On the other hand, casinos can legally operate in many native American territories because of law exemptions.
Meanwhile, some examples of illegal gambling in America include online gambling, illegally operated casinos, sports betting, horse betting through bookmakers, and sports parlay cards. The rules and exceptions vary from state to state, and there are also federal laws to consider.
It’s wise to know the legal repercussions should you find yourself involved, voluntarily or involuntarily, in unlawful gambling. This way, you can avoid the inconvenience, fines, and other forms of punishment that come with a conviction for illegal gambling.
What should be done if you are faced with an illegal gambling charge? Read on to find out.
- Acquire Legal Representation
One of the first steps in handling an illegal gambling charge is acquiring professional lawyer assistance. You’ll need a qualified legal representative who can help you understand the federal and state laws involved in the charges and guide you through the next steps of the process after arrest.
Here’s how to select a suitable attorney to represent you in court:
- Consider the area of expertise of the lawyer or the firm.
- Understand the costs and the time to be spent handling the proceedings.
- Learn who and how many people will be involved and represent your legal interests in court.
- Assess how your lawyer communicates with you and others involved in the case.
Your attorney will help you tackle each crucial step in criminal proceedings, so you need to communicate your concerns and needs without delay or hesitation. For this reason, you’ll also need to consider if you and your potential legal counsel can work and communicate effectively.
- Cease Engagement In Any Form Of Gambling
If you’re caught unaware of participating in illegal gambling activities, among the first few things to do is to cease your engagement and steer clear of any connections to them. Doing so would help you establish your innocence or lack of awareness regarding the legality of the games you participated in before the arrest.
While being unaware of legal regulations may periodically support a favorable decision, it may be considered depending on the technicalities of the case and the stipulations in the state laws. The magnitude and duration of your engagement are also deciding factors that can influence the decision.
Besides these, ceasing your gambling activities can help minimize evidence relevant to the charges. Focus on the events surrounding the case or look at documents and other materials useful in the investigation. See if there are opportunities to use any material of relevance to help your case.
- Understand The Legal Implications Of The Gambling Activity In Question
Recall details regarding your involvement in the gambling activity relevant to the charges filed against you. This information may help build your case in response to the charges, so you must work with your attorney to document them.
Let your lawyer discuss the regulations involved in the gambling activity you’ve engaged with and how your participation may be interpreted as legal or illegal. Besides the actual gaming activity, you’ll also need to consider the financial transactions you’ve made connected to the case, as these are also usually factored in.
- Familiarize Yourself With The Criminal Proceedings Relevant To The Case
The criminal proceedings involved in illegal gambling charges can be divided into six stages:
- Initial court appearance / Arraignment
- Bail hearing
- Pretrial hearings
These proceedings usually take a month or more to complete. Your lawyer’s role in handling the criminal case becomes crucial, and their capabilities can significantly impact the process and results.
During each step, your attorney will communicate with various government, police, and court representatives. It’s best to have your legal counsel present at each stage to protect your rights and interests during the proceedings.
- Get Help From Your Support System
Aside from legal help, getting moral and emotional support from your trusted circle of friends and family might also be helpful when you’re faced with illegal gambling charges. Your support system can help you overcome the challenges during the investigation and trial. Meanwhile, you can also acquire professional counseling if you need help overcoming risky gambling behavior.
Your best action is to equip yourself with information when faced with illegal gambling charges. It’s best to consult with a lawyer immediately to have someone with sufficient qualifications to guide you. Finally, allocate resources and find support within your circle to get the assistance you need during this crucial period.
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