California law deals with gang activity in three primary ways. First, a person may be convicted of the crime of actively participating in a gang. Second, any criminal offense that is ordinarily a misdemeanor may be charged by a prosecutor as a felony if the crime was conducted for the benefit of a gang. Third, “gang-related crimes” (see below) subject a defendant to the possibility of enhanced prison sentences.
If you have been arrested for a gang-related crime, it is critical that you protect your rights by retaining an experienced criminal defense attorney. For a vigorous defense, contact the Law Offices of Daniel R. Perlman in Los Angeles. There are many ways that we can make a positive difference in your case. Call 213-514-8324 or contact us by e-mail.
Gang Activity Charges in Los Angeles
Pursuant to California Penal Code 186.22, the crime of engaging in gang activity may be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. The prosecution must prove the following:
- You actively participated in a gang
- You knew that its members engaged in a pattern of gang criminal activity
- You willfully promoted, furthered or assisted the gang in felonious conduct
It is important to note that you must have promoted, furthered or assisted a gang in a felony level crime to be convicted for the crime of engaging in gang activity under Penal Code 186.22.
Charging Misdemeanors as Felonies Due to Gang Activity Charges
A prosecutor may charge any offense that is ordinarily a misdemeanor as a felony if it was “committed for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with any criminal street gang, with the specific intent to promote, further or assist in any criminal conduct by gang members” [CA Penal Code 186.22(d)].
Sentencing Enhancements for Gang Related Charges in Los Angeles
If you are convicted of a gang-related crime, you may face significant sentencing enhancements. Depending on the facts of your case, you could spend an additional four years in prison or you could serve an additional life sentence.
You do not have to be a member of a gang in order to receive a gang enhancement. As long as you committed an offense “for the benefit of, at the direction of or in association with a criminal street gang” you may receive an enhanced prison sentence [Code 186.22].
Put a Former Prosecutor to Work for You
Our Los Angeles attorneys prepare each case for the possibility of trial and offer skilled trial lawyers if you wish to fight your charges at trial. If you do not want to fight your charges at trial, you can be confident in the knowledge that we are highly skilled negotiators.
Our founding attorney, Daniel Perlman, is a former prosecutor. He understands how to effectively negotiate with other prosecutors to seek creative and effective plea bargains. Given the broad discretion of prosecutors and judges in gang cases, our ability to craft an effective plea agreement could make a significant difference in your case.
To schedule a free consultation with one of our Los Angeles gang crimes attorneys, call 213-514-8324 or contact us by e-mail.