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Racketeering charges in Illinois

On Behalf of | Aug 21, 2023 | Criminal Defense

In accordance with Illinois law, the district attorney holds the authority to levy an array of criminal charges against defendants, which may include the crime of racketeering. Those found guilty of racketeering may face severe sentencing, underscoring the importance of defendants being aware of the relevant laws and charges involved.

Illinois racketeering laws

Racketeering crimes are those criminal actions performed to further an organization’s goals or conducted for the benefit of a criminal enterprise. Under federal law, the RICO Act allows U.S. District Attorneys to file charges against those accused of such behavior.

Under Illinois law, predicate activity refers to certain offenses that can establish racketeering charges. A pattern of predicate activity might also point to someone’s involvement in racketeering. Several different crimes could support racketeering-related charges. Promoting prostitution, recruiting criminal gang members and gunrunning are three examples.

Defenses to racketeering

As with all other felonies and criminal charges, conviction requires the prosecution to establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. With predicate activity, the law requires the prosecution to prove the defendant committed three related acts. They must be separate acts that took place within three years. If the prosecution cannot do so decisively, there could be enough reasonable doubt for an acquittal.

In Illinois, the law states that the accused must have intentionally and knowingly engaged in criminal activities for charges to be filed. The charges may be weak if the prosecution cannot prove these elements.

In other situations, the prosecution could have a strong case against the defendant. Felony charges may result in lengthy prison sentences and heavy fines upon conviction. Defendants could plea bargain for lesser crimes and sentencing if doing so is in their best interests.