There are a variety of crimes related to gang activity. Many gang crimes are prosecuted under federal law. If you have been part of a street gang and have been charged with a crime, it’s vital to contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible. In addition to being subject to penalties for the crime itself, you will also face harsher punishment because of the gang involvement.
Street gangs are a type of organized crime. The majority of gangs operate at a local level, working within one city or even one portion of a city. They may have turf wars with competing gangs. There are also organized crime syndicates that operate at a national or international level.
Using federal regulations and legislation, prosecutors will go after local gang crime in federal court. In addition to being charged with offenses in a state court, you might be charged with a federal crime.
The majority of organized crime is committed by small groups of people who traffic drugs. But there are larger groups that might have greater social influence over a space. Large criminal organizations might pose as local businesses while working in illegal actions like racketeering.
According to the Department of Justice, a criminal gang is defined as at least three people who have a group identity that’s built to spread intimidation and fear. These people use intimidation and violence to participate in criminal activity without being challenged.
Street gangs, motorcycle gangs, prison gangs, and organized groups might all be tried for gang crimes. Prison gangs are unique in that they exist inside correctional institutions. However, people might keep their ties to prison gangs for the rest of their lives after being released.
With federal charges, the risks associated with a conviction are more significant. The penalties are stricter than with state crimes. On top of this, federal prosecutors will use every resource at their disposal to gather evidence against the defendants. Since gang crimes are taken so seriously, it’s vital that you have proper legal representation throughout the process.
Street gangs operate on a criminal level. There are federal guidelines in place that define street gang activity for the entire US, no matter which city is involved. Both rural and urban areas are subject to these rules. The federal guidelines state that a person is part of a criminally-operating gang if:
If a person is found to be part of a gang based on these conditions, then you might face an extra 10 years on your prison sentence. However, this is only applicable if the prosecution can prove that you committed the crimes for the gang, or that you were aiming to move up in the gang by committing the crimes. The penalty is added to whatever sentence you’re already given for the crime itself.
There is a list of ways that people might be charged with having committed gang crimes:
Even if you didn’t take part in a certain crime, you might still be charged for planning it. Conspiracy charges can apply to everyone who knew about a certain crime, even if they didn’t actively contribute to the planning.
Another important federal act is the RICO Act. This allows you to be charged for conspiring to commit at least two crimes in relation to a gang. The legislation is most commonly used to prosecute racketeering. To be defined as a pattern, you need to commit both criminal acts or conspiracies within a decade.
If you are part of a criminal organization and are part of illegal racketeering operations, you can be charged for violating the RICO Act.
Racketeering occurs when you threaten to commit or actually commit crimes like extortion, robbery, murder, arson, kidnapping, bribery, and other violent crimes. You are also engaging in racketeering if you partake in the manufacture or trafficking of drugs. In addition, sexual exploitation of children, counterfeiting, and obstruction of justice all count.
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