While most have likely heard the term racketeering before, many may not fully understand what it refers to. Miami residents may even find themselves facing racketeering, or RICO (Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organizations) charges, without being fully aware of the legal consequences or ramifications the charges carry.
A common misconception is that racketeering only applies to those involved in organized crime, which is simply not true, anyone can be charged with racketeering for a number of crimes. In Florida, a racketeering or RICO charge carries hefty fines, jail or prison time, and more lifetime consequences. These charges are too serious and complex to face on your own, contact a Miami criminal defense attorney to retain help and defend your name.What is Racketeering in Florida?
The RICO act was originally conceived by congress as a means to crack down on, and harshly punish the most notorious criminals, drug cartels, gangs, and organized criminal enterprises.
Today, racketeering refers to one count of an unlawful activity prohibited by statute. An organization or individual can face these charges. An individual can even face RICO charges as a result of illegal activity committed by an organization they are affiliated with. Some of the illegal activities covered under the RICO statute include, but are not limited to:
- Money Laundering,
- Unlawful gambling practices,
A person or organization will only face racketeering charges specifically if they engage in "a pattern of racketeering activity." Because of the very nature of racketeering and RICO offenses, the crime is difficult to defend. An experienced racketeering attorney, with experience defending a wide range of criminal activities is best suited for this type of case.RICO Consequences
RICO can be charged at both the federal or state level. For those convicted of federal racketeering, judges consider the factors of the case before sentencing the defendant. At the federal level, a convicted defendant is facing 20 years in prison, and a fine of up to twice the value gained as a result of the crime. The United States government will usually seize any assets and property accumulated through the racketeering activities. Federal judges have significant discretion in sentencing, and will consider all aspects of the crime, the defendant's criminal history, and any aggravating factors involved.
Under Florida statute 895.04, racketeering crimes are a first-degree felony. If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison, $10,000 in fines, and any court and prosecution costs. The offender may also be required to pay up to three times the value gained, or three times the damages caused as a result of the racketeering offenses.
Usually, defendants facing racketeering charges face additional charges that significantly increase any penalties.Contact a Miami Racketeering Attorney
Because racketeering is a highly complex and specialized area of the law, it is important to contact an attorney with knowledge of this legal area. An attorney can raise important pre-trial motions and possible defenses on your behalf. Often, prosecutors lack the requisite evidence to hold a case against defendants, an attorney can draw light upon this.
Contact a Miami criminal trial attorney as soon as possible for the best possible results.