Charges Involving Criminal Gang Activity
If you have been charged with gang activity, you are looking at some serious penalties. Besides the crime itself, you will be held accountable and face additional penalties due to your involvement in a criminal gang. The Florida legislature takes a dim view of groups that intimidate or harm others, and views gang activity that threatens citizens as a “mounting crisis” in the state. You can definitely count on a strenuous prosecution for criminal gang activity—which means you want a criminal defense attorney who is equally committed to aggressive courtroom tactics.
What Constitutes Criminal Gang Activity?
Florida law (874.03) is in line with federal provisions, defining a criminal gang as a group with key activities related to delinquent or criminal activities. These activities generally promote or otherwise benefit the gang or the gang member’s standing within the gang. Groups must consist of at least three people, and share symbols, colors, or signs. Included are hate groups and terrorist groups. Members may participate in criminal undertakings alone or with other gang members. A wide range of activities could lead to charges of criminal gang activity, including, but not limited to:
- Destruction of property;
- Drive-by shooting;
- Bribing a juror;
- Retaliating against someone for cooperating with police or for their testimony in court;
- Destroying evidence needed for trial;
- Gaming offenses;
- Sex trafficking;
- Identity theft;
- Collecting prostitution earnings;
Each of these criminal endeavors could result in a number of years of imprisonment, as well as the forfeiture of any profits gained due to the criminal actions.
Individuals who initiate or otherwise plan or lead illegal activities on behalf of a gang can be charged with a first-degree felony. This is a particularly serious offense and could result in life behind bars.
Interstate Gang Activity
When criminal activity crosses state lines, federal enhancements are invoked. 10 years can be added to many of these these sentences, particularly if the crime was violent or involved human trafficking or illegal sexual activities such as sex abuse or prostitution. For crimes involving narcotics or other controlled substances, that could mean at least five years more in federal prison. Carjacking can boost a sentence by 15 years, and firearms charges could add a decade to one’s sentence. Racketeering could mean life in federal prison. To be sure, whether or not the crime was successfully completed, the mere conspiracy to commit the crime is punishable under these rules.
Because you are likely battling against multiple cooperating state and/or federal agencies, you can count on a heavy-hitting prosecution. You may now need a Kissimmee federal crimes attorney who is fluent in both state and federal charges and who is willing to put forth a forceful and tenacious defense on your behalf. At Salazar & Kelly Law Group, P.A., that is exactly what you will get. To discuss your situation, schedule a confidential consultation in our office today.