Whether you are aware of the fact that you’re committing a crime or not, the last thing you want to be associated with is organized crime. As such, facing racketeering charges in Georgia can be overwhelming for many, as there are severe consequences if convicted for this act. The following blog explores what you must know about these charges, and you’ll discover how a Cobb County criminal defense lawyer can help you navigate the complexities of this serious situation.
What Is Racketeering?
Racketeering is an offense most commonly associated with organized crime. Generally, any time someone or a group of people benefit from illegal activity, they are racketeering.
Racketeering is an additional charge that someone can face, as to commit the act, another illegal act must be committed in tandem. The following are crimes that can be the basis for a racketeering charge under Georgia Law:
- Weapons trafficking
What Penalties Does this Offense Carry?
It’s important to note that the United States Federal Government implemented the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act to make the penalties for repeated activity more severe. As a result, Georgia, like many other states, enacted its own state-level RICO laws. Anytime someone allegedly commits at least of illegal offenses as a pattern of racketeering activity, they can face a RICO charge.
If charged with violating Georgia’s RICO laws, you can face serious penalties. Generally, you can expect a minimum of five years in prison on top of your sentence for the other crime committed. You may also have to pay up to $25,000.
For example, if charged with racketeering and mail fraud, you can face a five-year sentence for racketeering and a one-year sentence for the fraud.
It’s also important to note that the operation does not need to be successful in order to face criminal charges for illegal activity.
Are There Any Possible Defenses?
If facing racketeering charges, it may seem like there are no possible defenses. However, this is far from the truth. In reality, there are many defenses you can utilize, depending on your circumstances, with the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney.
To prove racketeering, a number of elements must exist, including two illegal activities, association with an existing enterprise, and participation. If you can prove one of these elements does not exist, you may be able to evade RICO charges.
The most common is to argue you were not part of an organized crime operation. If you engaged in criminal activity on your own without the assistance of others, you may be able to prove this was not organized. On the other hand, if you did participate in illegal activity, you may be able to prove a lack of knowledge.
If you are facing racketeering charges in Georgia, it’s essential to enlist the assistance of a lawyer to represent you. These are serious charges, so doing everything in your power to protect yourself is crucial. At Miller Law Practice, our dedicated legal team will explore every possible avenue to help you through these charges. Contact us today to learn how we can assist you.