Federal Gang Crimes – 18 U.S.C. § 521
Gang crimes are a serious federal offense that has life altering consequences. Our gang crime Federal Defense Attorneys can and will help you if you are facing gang crime charges. Our federal attorneys in Los Angeles are well known and well respected. We take all necessary measures to help our clients striving to get them the best possible results. To be considered a gang by law, the group must be an ongoing organization or association of five or more people with its sole purpose being commitment of crimes.
Federal law describes gang crime as a felony involving a controlled substance, violence using physical force against another person, or a conspiracy to commit a felony involving a controlled substance or violence using physical force against another person.
A person who is convicted of gang crimes under Federal law will receive the punishment associated with that crime committed. If the crime was committed by a person who involve himself/herself in a criminal street gang knowingly, intends to advance the felonious activities of that street gang, and has been convicted in the last five years for one of the above offenses or any state offense involving the above crimes then the sentence of that person will be increased by up to ten years.
Over the course of the last twenty-five years I've handled a lot of gang-related offenses at the federal level. Usually what I'm seeing happening is the feds coming in, arresting a huge chunk of a particular gang after a two, three, four, five year investigation and charging them basically with RICO-related offenses.
Of course, that's the Racketeering and Organized Crime Act that was passed some time ago but it's perfect in order for the feds to go after gang members.
The state government was having a lot of trouble tracking these gang members, surveilling them and doing the appropriate investigation because a lot of the gangs are involved with drugs, guns, murders, threatening of witnesses and it is very difficult sometimes for the state to have the manpower and the funds to be able to investigate some of these gang-related offenses in Los Angeles and throughout the country for that matter.
What they've done is they've got the feds and they will work in task force with the feds. It's not just the federal government coming in. They will work with the state as well, the local police, in order to execute warrants, get intel, do surveillance and ultimately arrest people and charge them at the federal level.
When you're talking about racketeering/guns, you're talking about mandatory minimums, a lot of times in the ten-year range or more and people are looking at huge amounts of time and they don't even realize it and they can't really understand what's going on with them until it's just simply too late and they're caught up in a big federal case, looking at a lot of time and they don't know how to help themselves get out of it.
So, that's where a good criminal defense attorney who is used to dealing with gang/RICO-related offenses knows what to do, knows what the ins and outs are, knows how to help somebody make the right decision about what's best for them — whether they're going to fight the case, negotiate the case, cooperate with the government — it all has to do with what type of a case you're looking at, what evidence the government has against you at the federal level and what you feel is the right thing to do under the circumstances of your personal case.
What Constitutes A Gang Crime Under Federal Law?
In the early 2000s, the federal government began dealing with gang-related crimes across the US. This decision was made as a result of increased gang sizes and occurrences of sophisticated gang-related crime; the combination of these factors was too great for state governments to properly handle. When dealing with these cases, the federal government's approach is to make as many arrests as they can while specifically targeting the top gang members.
Oftentimes, this means they are sweeping people into big nets that are tangentially linked to gangs, which can result in little players receiving serious charges even when they probably shouldn't. An experienced attorney with the right skills will be able to separate the little players from the big ones, review all of the discovery, wiretap evidence, and video surveillance, and put someone in the best position to avoid serious charges.
Filing Motions and Plea Bargains
So, pick up the phone. We'll have you come in and go over everything. If your loved one is in federal custody, I will make arrangements to go see them and talk to them.
Anything that we say, even if I'm not hired o the case, it's all protected by the attorney/client privilege. I'll figure out exactly what they're up against, what they're looking at and then I can quote a fee in order to defend them, and of course our goal will be to try to get them out of the federal system as fast as possible. Sometimes that will be by way of a trial. Other times it will be by way of filing motions. Other times it will be by way of a plea bargain.
Of course, we try to secure some sort of bond conditions for them while their case is pending because a lot of these big federal gang-RICO cases can take years sometimes to resolve themselves so we want to try to get the client out so they can help fight their case from the street instead of being in custody which limits them significantly as far as what they can do, how they can help related to the investigation and defense of their federal criminal gang-related offense.
There's not really gang charges; they're more gang allegations when it has to do with federal crimes, so they'll figure out what the target crime is — whether it be selling drugs, possessing guns or some other target crime and then they will put a special allegation attached to that.
A lot of times you're seeing conspiracy charges, and also as I indicated earlier, you're seeing RICO-related offenses, trying to attack gang members and give them extra time in addition to what they're going to get for whatever it is they're convicted of related to the charges in the federal criminal case.
So, I've handled a lot of these gang-related offenses. The best thing to do is get to an attorney as fast as possible and let them start putting the pieces in place to defend your gang or RICO-related case. With our experience coupled up with our skill and knowledge, our defense attorneys can help you if you are facing a gang crime. We will fight aggressively and are insistent in getting you the best result possible.
We work hard and have a true passion and desire to help our clients. Our federal criminal defense lawyers are equipped and we know and understand federal laws and the operation of the federal court system.