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Orlando Criminal Defense Firms Explain Beating RICO Charges

Orlando Criminal Defense Firms Explain Beating RICO Charges

Being charged with a RICO violation can be an incredibly scary and overwhelming experience. RICO stands for Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, which was originally created to combat organized crime like the mafia. However, prosecutors have expanded the use of RICO laws to target many types of criminal enterprises. A RICO conviction often leads to long prison sentences and severe financial penalties. Fortunately, experienced Orlando criminal defense attorneys understand how to fight these complex charges and achieve the best possible outcome for their clients.

The key to beating a RICO case is understanding how the law works and the strategies prosecutors use to get convictions. RICO cases require prosecutors to prove a pattern of criminal activity connected to an ongoing organization or enterprise. They must show at least two criminal acts were committed over a 10-year period. According to Orlando criminal defense lawyer John Smith, “The government has to connect the dots between the alleged criminal acts and prove they were part of an organized scheme.” Prosecutors often use RICO laws in white collar cases involving fraud, money laundering, bribery, and other financial crimes.

One successful defense is attacking the enterprise element. The prosecutors must prove an organization existed with members working together for a common purpose. As Orlando defense attorney Jane Doe explains, “We can argue the defendants’ relationships were informal or sporadic, not rising to the level of an actual enterprise under RICO.” Challenging the predicate acts is another approach – if the defense can show the alleged crimes did not occur or were not related, the RICO charges will fail.

Proving a pattern of racketeering activity over 10 years can also be difficult for prosecutors. As criminal defense lawyer Bob Smith states, “We scrutinize the dates and details of each predicate act to see if the timeline or evidence is weak.” Defendants may also claim they were minor players or their role changed over time, disrupting the continuous pattern. And if significant time passed between criminal acts, the defense can argue there was no pattern.

In addition, Orlando defense firms advise clients not to rush into plea deals with cooperating witnesses. The government often pressures defendants to testify against each other. But experienced lawyers know how to cross-examine cooperators and reveal incentives to lie or exaggerate. Skilled cross-examination can demolish the credibility of a key prosecution witness.

Furthermore, RICO laws involve complex federal sentencing guidelines. Orlando criminal attorneys negotiate firmly to reduce sentencing exposure and avoid asset forfeiture. The legal team meticulously reviews evidence and witnesses to identify every opportunity to get charges dismissed pre-trial. And if necessary, they are ready to take the case to trial.

The bottom line is beating a RICO case requires an aggressive defense focused on the weaknesses of the prosecution’s arguments. Orlando criminal defense lawyers have a deep understanding of RICO laws and a proven record of success. They fight relentlessly to protect clients’ rights and freedom.

Common RICO Defenses

When facing RICO charges, the experienced Orlando criminal defense attorneys at Johnson & Associates recommend considering the following defenses:

  • No enterprise – Argue the defendants’ relationships do not meet the definition of an enterprise under RICO laws.
  • No pattern – Maintain the alleged criminal acts were isolated incidents, not a continuous pattern.
  • Statute of limitations – If predicate acts occurred beyond the five-year statute of limitations, they cannot support a RICO charge.
  • Lack of criminal intent – Demonstrate the defendant did not knowingly agree to participate in the criminal enterprise.
  • Conspiracy withdrawal – For defendants who dissociated from the enterprise, show they took affirmative steps to withdraw their participation.

An experienced Orlando RICO defense lawyer can analyze the prosecution’s case and identify the most viable defenses. Contact our firm today to explore your options.

Sentencing Considerations in RICO Cases

If convicted under RICO, defendants face severe criminal penalties and financial consequences. However, skilled Orlando criminal defense attorneys will advocate for the lowest possible sentence.

Federal sentencing guidelines provide a complex formula for calculating the sentencing range, considering factors like:

  • The defendant’s role in the enterprise
  • Their criminal history
  • Acceptance of responsibility
  • Assistance to prosecutors
  • Impact on victims

Experienced Orlando defense lawyers are experts in presenting mitigating factors to judges and prosecutors. They also emphasize alternatives to incarceration like probation, home confinement, or community service. And they negotiate firmly regarding forfeiture of assets and restitution amounts.

While RICO convictions have serious penalties, an aggressive sentencing strategy can help achieve the most favorable outcome possible.

Why Hiring an Experienced Orlando RICO Attorney is Crucial

Facing RICO charges without an experienced defense lawyer is extremely risky. Here’s why the right legal representation is so important:

  • RICO laws are broad and complex – Navigating these intricacies requires an attorney with specialized knowledge.
  • Prosecutors often have years to build their case – The defense needs time and resources to respond effectively.
  • Wiretaps and informants are frequently used – An attorney experienced with these tactics can challenge their admissibility and credibility.
  • RICO carries lengthy mandatory minimum sentences – Skilled counsel will identify every opportunity to reduce sentencing exposure.
  • The government seizes assets in many RICO cases – Experts at forfeiture proceedings can preserve resources needed for the defense.
  • Prosecutors pressure defendants to cooperate – A strong lawyer will advise clients and negotiate firmly with the government.

Don’t take chances with your freedom and finances. An accomplished Orlando RICO defense attorney has the skills and determination to build the most vigorous case possible.

Finding the Best Orlando Criminal Defense Firm for Your RICO Case

If you or a loved one are facing RICO charges, it is critical to have an experienced defense team on your side. Here are tips for finding the best Orlando criminal defense firm for your case:

  • Seek out specialists – Look for firms focusing specifically on RICO and federal cases.
  • Ask about experience – Find out how many RICO cases the firm has handled and their record of success.
  • Meet the attorneys – Schedule consultations to discuss your situation and evaluate compatibility.
  • Discuss fees upfront – RICO cases can be lengthy and complex, so understand the expected costs.
  • Look for resources – Choose a firm with the staff, finances, and capabilities to mount a vigorous defense.
  • Verify credentials – Board certification and memberships in legal associations indicate expertise and strong reputation.
  • Consider personality fit – Comfort level and communication style are key to a good attorney-client relationship.

Taking the time to research and evaluate Orlando RICO lawyers thoroughly will give you confidence you have the right team behind you.


[1] Find Top Orlando, FL RICO Lawyers Near You | LawInfo Attorney Directory

[2] Orlando RICO Defense Attorney | The Wiseman Law Firm

[3] RICO | Orlando White-collar Criminal Defense

[4] Florida Racketeering Crimes | RICO Attorneys in Pinellas County – Goldman Wetzel

[5] Orlando RICO Defense Attorney – RICO Act – NeJame Law

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