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Things to Know
Florida Laws Relating to Criminal Gangs
Criminal Gang Enforcement and Prevention
Florida has led the country in drafting a statute that specifically targets criminal gang activity. From its original enactment in 1990 to the recent revisions that followed the recommendations of the 18th Statewide Grand Jury, Florida has tried to target criminal gangs for special treatment under the law. Florida Statute 874 defines criminal gangs, gang members, and gang associates. It then provides for enhanced penalties for crimes committed in furtherance of the interests of a gang; new statutes for recruiting gang members; and a new crime allowing the charging of a Gang Kingpin for directing the activities of a gang. There is also a newly redrafted provision that allows cities to enter injunctions against gang activity at a specific location. Much like the violation of a domestic violence injunction, the violation of a gang injunction can also result in arrest for violating the terms of the injunction.
Offenses Concerning Racketeering and Illegal Debts
The State of Florida has a racketeering law entitled, Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization, referred to as the Florida RICO Act. The Florida RICO Act (Florida Statute 895) allows prosecutors to prosecutors to charge a complete enterprise all at once and allows prosecutors to couple historic convictions with newly charged crime. In order to charge RICO, the government must first prove that an enterprise exists and then that the defendants committed individual predicate incidents in furtherance of the enterprise. The Florida legislature has specifically defined a criminal gang under 874 is an enterprise under Florida’s RICO.