DuPage County Gang-Related Activity Defense Attorneys
Defending Minors Against RICO Gang Activity Charges in Illinois
Illinois law enforcement officials have declared war on street gangs in the form of the Illinois Street Gang RICO Act. The tough anti-gang measure was passed in 2012 to impose harsher sentences on individuals linked to gang activity and limit the ability of gang members who commit criminal acts to deny knowledge or involvement in gang activity.
The law permitted law enforcement to round up alleged juvenile gang members and charge them as being involved in a criminal organization. The focus of law enforcement and prosecutors on targeting street gangs has been justified by crime data that includes the FBI deeming Chicago as the “murder capital” of the U.S. in 2012 with over 500 homicides, the highest in the nation.
What Is the Illinois Street Gang Act?
At Ramsell & Kunowski, L.L.C., our Illinois criminal defense attorneys understand that a relatively minor offense can become extremely serious when the offense is considered a gang-related activity. The law permits prosecutors to charge alleged gang members with a pattern of criminal activity, such as drug offenses, robbery, murder and prostitution. A conviction under the Street Gang RICO Act can carry a sentence of up to 30 years and a maximum fine of $250,000.
The Street Gang RICO Act focuses exclusively on gang activities. The law can be used to impose harsher sentences on those proven to be involved in street gang activity if the prosecutor proves: (1) existence of the gang; (2) gang activity (e.g. recruitment); and (3) involvement in at least 3 types of crimes.
Important Considerations in Gang-Related Charges under RICO
If you face RICO charges for alleged gang-related activities, you need an Illinois criminal defense attorney experienced in defending gang allegations. RICO often leads to blurred jurisdictional boundaries between state and federal law enforcement authorities. The law also has an innate racial bias as it targets gangs that are disproportionately comprised of minorities in Illinois. This type of law also can perpetuate infringement of basic due process rights guaranteed under the Constitution. One of the most egregious examples is that the law essentially turns the presumption of innocence on its head by presuming a defendant is guilty until proven innocent.
Why You Need Ramsell & Kunowski, L.L.C. on Your Side
If you or a loved one is charged with engaging in gang-related activity, the punishment can be severe even if the underlying offense was relatively minor. Our Illinois criminal defense lawyers have over 30 years experienced defending individuals charged with serious juvenile crimes, including the Street Gang RICO Act. We have the depth of experience and familiarity with local prosecutors and judges that comes with handling over 16,000 criminal matters. Our founding partner Donald Ramsell has repeatedly been recognized as an "Illinois Super Lawyer" and "Illinois Leading Lawyer in Criminal Defense-DUI."
We invite you to call us today at 630-256-8001 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation in our conveniently located office in Naperville. Ramsell & Kunowski, L.L.C. also has offices in Wheaton and or St. Charles Rolling Meadows by appointment.