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The Spodek Law Group understands how delicate high-profile cases can be, and has a strong track record of getting positive outcomes. Our lawyers service a clientele that is nationwide. With offices in both LA and NYC, and cases all across the country - Spodek Law Group is a top tier law firm.

Todd Spodek is a second generation attorney with immense experience. He has many years of experience handling 100’s of tough and hard to win trials. He’s been featured on major news outlets, such as New York Post, Newsweek, Fox 5 New York, South China Morning Post, Insider.com, and many others.

In 2022, Netflix released a series about one of Todd’s clients: Anna Delvey/Anna Sorokin.

Why Clients Choose Spodek Law Group

The reason is simple: clients want white glove service, and lawyers who can win. Every single client who works with the Spodek Law Group is aware that the attorney they hire could drastically change the outcome of their case. Hiring the Spodek Law Group means you’re taking your future seriously. Our lawyers handle cases nationwide, ranging from NYC to LA. Our philosophy is fair and simple: our nyc criminal lawyers only take on clients who we know will benefit from our services.

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Federal Gang Crimes Defense Lawyers

By Spodek Law Group | February 14, 2023
(Last Updated On: July 28, 2023)

Last Updated on: 28th July 2023, 07:22 pm

The Severe Consequences of Getting Involved with Criminal Street Gangs under Federal Laws

Getting involved with criminal street gangs and participating in their activities within the United States can have severe consequences under federal laws. It is not just the underlying crime that gang members will face charges for, but also additional penalties due to their involvement with an organized gang.

Criminal organizations usually operate within a local area, but they could also function nationally or even internationally. Federal law allows the prosecution of criminal activity in a federal court under different statutes. Therefore, gang members who engage in criminal activities could face charges not only in a state-level court but might also face charges for a federal offense.

Federal charges carry more severe penalties than state-level crimes. Also, federal law enforcement agencies and prosecutors have extensive resources to investigate and prosecute alleged violations of federal laws. Anyone facing gang-related charges needs to consult with a federal crime attorney who has experience handling these types of cases in a federal courtroom.

Criminal Street Gangs Defined under Federal Laws

The United States Department of Justice describes “criminal street gangs” as a group of three or more people whose members identify themselves as adopting a group identity to create an environment of fear or intimidation. The primary function of such groups is to engage in criminal activity using violence or intimidation to further their criminal goals.

Active criminal organizations within the United States include local street gangs, organized crime groups, motorcycle gangs, and prison gangs that operate inside a prison, such as the Mexican Mafia and the Aryan Brotherhood.

Criminal organizations are typically a small operation, with some of their members selling illegal drugs. However, there are also large organizations that get involved in a wide range of criminal activity while posing as a legitimate business to conceal their illegal activity.

How Criminal Street Gangs Violate Federal Laws

18 U.S.C. Chapter 26 is the federal statute dealing with criminal street gangs. Within this Chapter, under 18 U.S.C. 521, you are considered to have participated in a criminal street gang when:

  • You are a member of a group or club of five or more people
  • The group’s primary function is to commit certain crimes, such as federal drug crimes carrying a sentence of at least five years or federal violent crimes involving physical force
  • The group’s activities affect interstate or foreign commerce
  • The members have engaged in a continuing series of crimes within the past five years

18 U.S.C. 521 provides a penalty enhancement of up to 10 years for gang members that commit crimes with the intent to further the activities of the gang or to maintain or advance their position in the gang. It should be noted that this sentencing enhancement is in addition to penalties for the original offense.

The circumstances where committing a crime could result in the sentencing enhancement under 18 U.S.C. 521 include when the defendant had the intent to promote or further felony activity of a criminal street gang, committed a drug crime to maintain their position within the gang, or committed a crime using threats or force to maintain position in the gang.

Defendants could also face charges for other state or federal felony crimes involving substantial risk physical force will be used when the crime is committed. Additionally, if the defendant has a prior conviction of a federal or state crime related to drugs or felony charges within the past five years, they could face enhanced penalties under 18 U.S.C. 521.

The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO)

Under the RICO Act, you could be punished if you commit or conspire to commit two or more state or federal crimes in furtherance of the activities of a criminal street gang.

Unveiling the Terrifying World of Federal Gang Laws

How the United States Government Deals with Criminal Organizations

Federal gang laws exist to deter and punish those involved in criminal street gang participation. Even minimal involvement with a gang can attract charges and penalties under these laws.

The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) defines a criminal street gang as a group of three or more individuals that identify as a group and engage in illegal activities using violence or intimidation. Criminal organizations operate at a local, state, or national level, and their activity can be prosecuted in a federal courtroom under various federal statutes.

Federal gang laws apply to organized crime groups, national and local street gangs, prison gangs, motorcycle gangs, and drug cartels, among others. Under 18 U.S.C. § 521, an individual’s participation in a criminal street gang is defined by specific criteria, including continuous engagement in criminal activities for over five years, having five or more members, and committing crimes that affect interstate or foreign commerce.

The RICO Act and Its Terrifying Implications

One law that stands out in the fight against criminal enterprises is the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). The RICO Act is a law designed to punish those participating in a pattern of racketeering, which is defined as illegal behavior on behalf of a criminal enterprise. Under this Act, the scope of a criminal enterprise is broader than the definition of criminal street gangs under 18 U.S.C. § 521.

The RICO Act allows federal prosecutors to bring charges against groups that aren’t necessarily criminal, such as businesses, unions, or churches. The Act aims to fight the impact of organized crime on the nation’s economy and was originally targeted at the Mafia and others engaged in similar criminal activity.

Under the RICO Act, an individual can be prosecuted if they engage in a pattern of racketeering activity by committing crimes that benefit a street gang. The Act punishes those who commit or conspire to commit two or more state or federal crimes to further the activities of a criminal street gang.

Harsh Penalties for Federal Gang Crimes

The consequences of violating federal gang laws can be severe. If convicted under 18 U.S.C. § 521, a defendant can be sentenced for the underlying crime plus an additional enhancement of up to 10 years because the crime resulted from their affiliation with the gang.

Convictions under the RICO Act can attract a maximum penalty of 20 years of imprisonment, which can be lengthened to a life sentence if the underlying racketeering activity carries a longer sentence. Moreover, financial penalties or asset forfeiture can also be imposed.

Federal charges related to gang laws often include a host of other statutes, including murder, embezzlement, weapons trafficking, bribery, blackmail and extortion, counterfeiting, money laundering, identity theft, wire fraud, human trafficking, sexual exploitation of children, prostitution, smuggling, conspiracy, and drug trafficking.

In conclusion, getting involved with a criminal street gang in the United States comes with severe consequences under federal law. The federal government is dedicated to prosecuting criminal organizations and has a wide range of laws and penalties at its disposal to deter and punish offenders. If you face charges or are under investigation, it’s essential to consult with a skilled federal criminal defense attorney who can guide you through the legal process and protect your rights.

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