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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.

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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.

We’re selective about the clients we work with, and only take on cases we know align with our experience – and where we can make a difference. This is different from other law firms who are not invested in your success nor care about your outcome.

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Federal Gang Crimes Defense Lawyers

By Spodek Law Group | February 14, 2023
(Last Updated On: October 17, 2023)

Last Updated on: 17th October 2023, 10:57 pm

Federal Gang Crimes Defense Lawyers

Being charged with a federal gang crime can have serious consequences that can negatively impact your life and freedom. However, with an experienced federal criminal defense lawyer on your side, you may be able to fight the charges or negotiate a favorable plea deal. This article provides an overview of federal gang crimes, defenses, and how a knowledgeable lawyer can help.

What are Federal Gang Crimes?

The federal government takes gang-related crimes very seriously and has passed laws specifically targeting criminal gang activity. The main laws used to prosecute federal gang crimes include[1]:

  • 18 U.S.C. 521 – Prohibits participation in criminal street gangs. Defines a gang as having 5 or more members whose purpose is to commit certain felony crimes. Provides sentencing enhancements for gang members.
  • RICO Act – Prohibits engaging in a pattern of racketeering activity connected to an enterprise such as a gang. Allows targeting gang leaders who direct others to commit crimes.
  • 18 U.S.C. 1959 – Prohibits violent crimes in aid of racketeering activity, including murder, assault, and threats. Frequently used to charge gang members.
  • 18 U.S.C. 1962 – Prohibits acquiring an interest in an enterprise through racketeering. Used to target profits from criminal gang enterprises.
  • Drug Trafficking – Gangs are often involved in drug trafficking offenses under 21 U.S.C. 841 and 21 U.S.C. 846. Harsh mandatory minimums apply.
  • Firearms Offenses18 U.S.C. 922 and 18 U.S.C. 924 prohibit felons and gang members from possessing firearms.

The penalties for federal gang crimes are severe, often involving decades in prison. The complex web of federal laws gives prosecutors broad power to target almost any type of gang activity.

Proving Gang Membership

To convict you of a federal gang crime, prosecutors must prove you are an active member of a criminal gang. The government may try to prove gang membership through[2]:

  • Tattoos, hand signs, clothing, or symbols linked to a gang
  • Social media posts, photos, and videos showing gang involvement
  • Recorded phone calls or text messages using gang code words
  • Testimony from informants, former gang members, or undercover agents
  • Prior arrests or convictions for gang-related crimes

However, experienced defense lawyers know how to challenge this evidence. They will scrutinize the reliability of witnesses and point out flaws in the prosecution’s portrayal of you as a gang member.

Sentencing Enhancements

A key aspect of federal gang crimes is that they carry mandatory enhanced sentences above the penalty for the underlying offense:

  • For drug trafficking under 21 U.S.C. 841 and 846, a gang member may face up to an extra 10 years in prison[1].
  • Under 18 U.S.C. 1959, violent gang crimes carry a mandatory life sentence if someone is killed[3].
  • RICO conspiracy under 18 U.S.C. 1962 can add up to an extra 20 years per racketeering count[4].

Your defense lawyer’s top priority will be avoiding these harsh sentencing enhancements that can lock you away for decades. They will look for weaknesses in the government’s evidence connecting you to a gang and object to any unconstitutional application of sentencing enhancements.

Possible Defenses

Skilled federal gang crimes lawyers know how to build an aggressive defense to fight the charges and get charges reduced or dismissed. Here are some possible defenses[5]:

  • Lack of Gang Membership – Argue there is insufficient evidence you are an active gang member. Challenge witnesses connecting you to a gang.
  • Entrapment – Argue you were improperly induced by government informants to join a gang you otherwise had no intention of joining.
  • Duress – Argue you were forced against your will to participate in gang activity due to threats against you or your family.
  • Unconstitutional Vagueness – Argue the definition of a “criminal street gang” is unconstitutionally vague.
  • Violation of Due Process – Object to sentencing enhancements that violate Constitutional due process protections.
  • Illegal Search – File a motion to suppress evidence obtained through an illegal search or seizure.
  • Self-Defense – Argue your actions were lawful self-defense, not criminal gang activity.

Federal Criminal Defense Lawyers Can Help

The deck is heavily stacked against defendants in federal gang crime cases. That’s why having an experienced federal criminal defense lawyer is critical. Here’s how a knowledgeable attorney can help fight for the best possible outcome:

  • Conduct an independent investigation to undermine the prosecution’s version of events
  • Challenge evidence allegedly proving your gang membership
  • File motions to suppress evidence obtained illegally
  • Negotiate with prosecutors for reduced charges or dismissal of sentencing enhancements
  • Craft persuasive trial strategies and arguments to create reasonable doubt
  • Present evidence and witnesses supporting defenses such as entrapment or duress
  • Advocate for the lowest possible sentence if convicted
  • Appeal the conviction or sentence if errors are made in the trial

The consequences of a federal gang conviction are extremely severe. Do not leave your fate in the hands of prosecutors. Contact a dedicated federal criminal defense lawyer immediately to start fighting for your freedom.

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