During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, our commitment to giving you a safe and reliable place to receive legal services and advice is even more important to us.

Articles Posted in Federal Crimes

The Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, simply referred to as RICO, was passed in 1970 to help prosecutors pursue charges against organized crime organizations such as mobs, gangs and cartels. Recently, even well-known celebrities have been charged through RICO for their alleged involvement with these types of organizations. In the United States, organized crime is generally defined as an enterprise looking for financial gain through illegal activities. But note, now these enterprises can be illegal or legal entities allowing prosecutors to use the law against everything from mobs to corporations to even politicians, With RICO, if a member is charged with a crime, prosecutors can then charge anyone else within that organization of a crime. Therefore, several members can be indicted for offenses they didn’t actually commit themselves. Nonetheless, we can help create a defense case for your innocence.

Crimes Included Under RICO

For an enterprise to be charged through RICO, there must be two violations within 10 years from the members. Some common crimes under RICO are listed below:

When you are accused of a serious criminal charge, it is important to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney who will present all available legal options to you that can prevent a conviction or at the very least, can lessen your charge. When appropriate, a Cooperation Agreement is a legal defense strategy for felony charges that could prove to be beneficial in your federal case. This agreement usually requires one to plead guilty and to assist the government in some way in exchange for a lesser sentence.

The worst thing one can do is cooperate with the government without an attorney present. People let the anxiety get the best of them and begin giving authorities information before an attorney is able to negotiate the terms of a cooperation agreement. It is vital that the accused person has an experienced federal criminal defense attorney representing them and protecting their rights. The attorney will first evaluate whether the information the client has and the facts of the case would meet the threshold for a cooperation agreement and a significant sentence reduction.

It also does not matter how hard you try to gather evidence for authorities. If in the end you are not able to gather the necessary evidence, no matter how much effort and time you put into it, you will not get the cooperation credit. And since you already gave a guilty plea, you will be locked into it. Ultimately, while cooperation agreements make sense for some, it does not help reduce prison time for others. That is why it is important that you hire an experienced criminal defense attorney who is familiar with cooperation agreements.

The definition of extortion is obtaining money or property by threat or intimidation even though it may not be represented by a clear or imminent physical danger to the victim. It is basically acquiring money or property by threat of physical violence or embarrassment to the victim, a friend or family member of the victim; a threat of damage to the victim’s property or threatening to damage a person’s reputation through various methods.

In the case of blackmail, the alleged guilty party would have something that the victim wouldn’t want made public and the target makes payments to stop the intimidator from doing so.

So what happens if you commit a crime due to being extorted? The answer is that it depends. There is a defense of duress, which can lessen your involvement. Also, if you cooperated with authorities and testified for the prosecutor, there is a chance you will be charged with lesser crimes in the first place. Finally, a jury is going to be sympathetic to someone who was clearly blackmailed. That being said, the anticipated victim must believe that the threat is reasonably real and the threat that the intimidation against them must be true. Some of the elements to prove are:

Most do not go about their life thinking that they may be under watch and investigation by law enforcement. However, it can happen. If you or someone you know is involved in white collar criminal activity, the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) may be collecting evidence on you.

Investigations like this are never launched without much thought. By the time you even remotely suspect that you may be the subject of an investigation, law enforcement may have already obtained a great deal of evidence and has already looked into other potential suspects. So what are some signs that you are being looked into?

A coworker tells you that they have been interviewed and that your name was brought up.

There is a saying that goes, “You don’t always get it right the first time.” That can be said for trials. Being charged as guilty does not mean it is your last opportunity to see justice served. A defendant can file an appeal and if that is not successful, post-conviction relief is an option. You may get a reduced sentence, a new trial or even a vacated sentence and your freedom.

The federal court will only accept the petition if all other avenues of post-conviction relief have been exhausted at the state level. Under federal law, there is a deadline on when you can file. The statute of limitations is a year from the day you received the court judgement.

An attorney may raise issues such as an illegal search, jury bias and tampering or even not being fully advised of the rights you were waiving when you entered a guilty plea.The issue could have occurred at any phase of the criminal proceeding against you, including during the investigation, arrest, pre-trial, plea hearing, trial or sentencing.

Child endangerment charges are taken very seriously in Florida. From long prison sentences to losing custody of your children, these crimes can affect you negatively in several different ways. Unfortunately, it is possible to be wrongly accused of these crimes. This may occur during divorces or custody battles. The complaints may take months and even years to investigate. That is why it is best to seek legal counsel as soon as possible to make sure you know your rights and options.

Some examples of child endangerment are:

Having your children in the car while driving under the influence

In criminal law, mistake of fact and mistake of law are both defenses that can be used to exonerate criminal charges if deemed reasonable. To be convicted of relevant criminal charges the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the criminal defendant acted with criminal intent rather than as an honest mistake.

What is a mistake of fact and how can it be used as a defense?

Mistake of fact is commonly referred to as a mistaken belief or understanding of an individual that has led them to commit an illegal act unknowingly. To use mistake of fact as a defense, the defendant must disprove specific intent and/or disprove elements of the crime as material to the investigation.

If you have watched any crime show, you are probably familiar with polygraph exams. However, they are nearly never used in court cases, especially in Florida. Florida law is clear that a polygraph is never admissible in court because it has not been shown to pass scientific standards to be proven reliable. The State can possess a polygraph you have given in your case, but it cannot and will not be used against you at trial or hearing.

The Supreme Court commented that there is no reliable scientific evidence about the accuracy of polygraph exams. However, the Supreme Court has not forbidden it.

Did you know a polygraph exam can be used against you by law enforcement during interrogation? Even if you “passed” the polygraph, law enforcement can lie and say that you failed and you might as well confess or tell them the “truth”. Although this is dishonest and deceiving, it is allowed under Florida case law. In the end, the best thing to do is not take a polygraph. If you fail it, law enforcement can confront you about your lies; if you pass it, law enforcement may say you lied anyway. Some think that taking a polygraph is a way to convince law enforcement that you are innocent, but police often use it as a way to get a confession.

Lying, or willingly making false statements to a United States federal agent, is a federal crime. Under Section 1001 of title 18 of the United States Code (18 USC Section 10001), an individual or group can be criminalized for knowingly falsifying, concealing, and/or covering up pertinent information with a trick or scheme intended to derail any investigation. All false statements, spoken and written, that are or are not made under oath are subject to similar penalties.

It is stated in the United States Code that those found in violation of 18 USC Section 1001 can receive a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison for tax evasion and lying with intent to derail any investigation, and eight years if any false statements are linked to acts to terror, human trafficking, and certain sexual offenses. However, in order to successfully convict an individual or group of committing such crimes and being in violation of 18 USC Section 1001, United States government officials must prove three things:

  • That any false statement(s), written or spoken, by the defendant is/was “material” to the investigation. A “material” false statement is one that “has the natural tendency to influence or is capable of influencing” a federal agent receiving the information. A “material” false statement does not have to be believed by the federal agent receiving the information but if the false statement(s) made was intended to prevent locating, charging, and convicting  any suspects, it is considered a crime.  
Contact Information