Is it possible to beat charges for RICO violations? RICO charges are serious federal crimes accompanied by serious consequences. To avoid a conviction for racketeering and a lengthy stay in a federal prison, you need to hire the right attorney. Beating a RICO charge is tough, but it isn’t impossible.
If you or your organization is under investigation for RICO charges, you don’t just need any lawyer, you need a federal criminal defense lawyer who isn’t afraid to go to trial in a federal court. The defense attorneys at Westfall Sellers know how to win complex federal cases and are here to tell you how—with the help of an experienced attorney—you can beat RICO violations.
What is a RICO charge?
The Federal Racketeering and Corrupt Organizations statute was enacted in the 1970s to more severely punish organizations that continually perpetrate crimes. A RICO charge can be incurred for a number of illegal acts that are carried out for profit, including violent crimes as well as many types of white-collar crime.
Some crimes covered by the RICO act include:
- Mail and wire fraud
- Witness or evidence tampering
- Gambling activities
- Homicide or murder
- Distribution of a controlled substance
- Money laundering
These crimes obviously all represent independent charges, so why are they sometimes charged as a RICO violation? There are two things to consider:
- RICO charges are rarely the only charge that defendants face. Because RICO charges are intended to be punitive, the court is liable to stack charges and magnify punishments.
- In order for the crimes above to be considered RICO offenses, a pattern of behavior must be established. This is done by establishing “predicate crimes” in relation to a criminal enterprise or organization.
Proving a lack of sufficient predicate crimes in relation to a criminal organization is one of many ways that your attorney can attempt to beat your RICO charge, but there are many more. The RICO Act, for the purposes of giving the courts latitude in arrest making, is incredibly broad. The way the statute is used to prosecute is complex, and the prosecution themselves are aggressive.
Both founding partners of Westfall Sellers have business school backgrounds, making them some of the best white collar defense lawyers in Dallas/Fort Worth, and uniquely qualifying them to take on federal crime trials that are financial in nature. Here are some of the ways that a good lawyer might attempt to defend a RICO charge in a federal court.
How do you win a RICO case?
Winning a RICO case is a complex and arduous affair, even for the best lawyers. The RICO statute is used broadly to aid federal prosecutors in establishing cases against those accused of RICO violations. Some possible defenses that a good lawyer would employ in a federal court include:
- Arguing insufficient predicate crimes or insufficient pattern of behavior
- Arguing that your membership in the criminal organization is unrelated to that organization’s criminal activity
- Arguing that you were not in fact a member of the criminal enterprise
- Arguing the “single-incident rule,” which submits that any racketeering activities were closely related to a single incident or done to achieve a single goal, and therefore cannot be used to establish a pattern of behavior
- Arguing that the “operation and management test” should be used, which attempts to disprove whether the person charged with racketeering activity actually operates or manages their organization in a meaningful way
Is it possible to beat a RICO charge? Yes, but it is difficult work that requires expert and specialized attorneys. If you want a chance at freedom, you’ve got to hire the best. You don’t have much choice after all.
What happens if you violate RICO statutes and don’t win your RICO case? You can expect to go to prison for a long time.
What is the minimum sentence for a RICO charge?
Mandatory minimum sentences vary based on the specifics of your charge, but violations of the RICO statute usually carry a minimum sentence of 10 years in a federal prison.
Average sentences for white collar crime usually depend on the amount of money allegedly stolen, but charges are unilaterally steep under the RICO Act. If the minimums seem steep then you don’t want to know what longer sentences can hold. RICO convictions often carry life sentences. Give yourself a shot at freedom by hiring an aggressive and experienced white-collar criminal lawyer in Dallas/Fort Worth to defend your life.
Hiring the right lawyer is the first step to beating RICO violations
How do you beat RICO violations? Instead of talking to any federal agents, you talk to your lawyer. If you or your organization has received any communication from a federal agency, you need a federal lawyer that you can trust on speed dial.
Greg Westfall and Frank Sellers bring their business school backgrounds and passions for justice to federal criminal defense. They provide creative and aggressive defense, and are not afraid to take sensitive federal cases to trial. If you’ve got a complex federal case you need to call Westfall Sellers at (817) 928-4222 or contact us online for a free consultation.
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