The law takes gang crimes very seriously. Gang crimes are generally considered violent crimes and they are therefore felonies. Unfortunately, many people who are not actual gang members may be charged with gang crimes. If convicted of a gang crime, you will face enhanced penalties in addition.
Gangs participate in a number of violent crimes including assault, robbery, homicide, gun crimes, drug crimes, arson, carjacking, burglary, mayhem, burglary, and many others. Gang members are often involved for life. It is difficult to quit a gang and therefore, if you were once a gang member, the police often assume that you are still affiliated.
Even though you are not a gang member, you may still be charged with gang crimes. The prosecutor must prove the elements of gang charges beyond a reasonable doubt.
- A criminal street gang is defined by California Penal Code 186.22 as an organization with three or more participants, with a common name, symbol or mark.
- A gang’s primary activity is the commission of violent crimes. Gang charges are in addition to charges for a violent felony. For instance, separate carjacking and gang crime charges.
- Members engage individually or as a group in criminal activity. You can commit a gang crime on your own or with others.
- You must have the intent to participate in a gang crime. If you assist in a crime with a gang member you could face gang crime charges.
- To prove that you are guilty of gang crimes the prosecutor must show that you actively participate in gang activities.
California maintains a database of gang members called CalGang. The database consists of approximately 150,000 names and continues to grow. Police add people to the list of gang members for a number of reasons. If your name is part of the gang database, you could face gang crime charges. You will need to prove that you are not a gang affiliate.
There are two main factors that determine gang participation. You must have knowledge that gang members take part in criminal activity and you willfully promote, assist, or further illegal conduct by gang members. The prosecutor must first prove that you are guilty of a crime and then prove that you participated as part of gang activity.
- You do not have to be a member of a gang to be charged with gang crimes. You may be an associate of a gang member and be subject to enhanced gang penalties.
- Aiding or abetting a crime that is committed by a gang member or in furtherance of a gang is all that is necessary for gang-related charges. You may have committed a crime to join a gang.
- Gang charges can be difficult to defend. If you are charged with a gang crime, call us for a free consultation.
If you or a loved one is facing gang crime charges, call our firm today. We are here to listen. We are here to help, and we can help you fight for your future. Give us a call today.
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The Law Offices of David Lehr provides legal representation to individuals facing felony charges of gang crimes in Ventura, Oxnard, and Camarillo, California. No attorney or law firm can make any promises or guarantee an outcome for your criminal case. The contents presented on this site are for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Visiting this website does not establish an attorney/client relationship.
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