Alameda Gang Crimes Lawyer
If law enforcement officers are accusing you of gang activity, you need to take immediate steps to protect your rights. Defenses may be available in your case that could help eliminate or minimize your exposure to criminal liability. Contacting a criminal defense attorney could be the first step toward safeguarding your freedom. An Almeda gang crimes lawyer could collect important mitigating evidence and negotiate with prosecutors to secure a plea deal or another advantageous decision.
Gang Participation in Alameda
Under California Penal Code § 186.22, it is illegal to actively participate in a criminal street gang with the knowledge that the gang has engaged in a pattern of criminal gang activity. To violate this section, the individuals must knowingly promote, further, or assist in any felonious criminal conduct by the gang.
Gang participation can be a misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in county jail. However, this offense could also be a felony, which can result in a prison sentence of 16 months, two years, or three years, depending on the circumstances. Consulting a gang crimes lawyer in Alameda in this situation may be wise, as the penalties for participating in a gang can be substantial.
Defining Criminal Gang Activity and Street Gangs
State law defines a pattern of criminal gang activity as the commission of two or more specified crimes within three years on separate occasions by two or more persons. Not only does this definition include the commission of crimes, but also the attempted commission, conspiracy to commit, or solicitation of the specified crimes. Some of the criminal offenses enumerated in the statute include:
This code section lists various other criminal offenses, as well, all of which are felony offenses. These offenses include multiple gun-related crimes, grand theft, and distribution of controlled substances.
Criminal street gangs refer to groups of three or more persons who have the commission of the illegal acts as one of its primary objectives. This definition also requires that the gang members, either individually or collectively, engage in a pattern of illegal gang activity. A gang must also have a common name, sign, or symbol.
Committing a Felony as a Gang Member
Individuals can face enhanced sentences for felony convictions if evidence shows that they committed the offense to benefit, as directed by, or in association with a gang. This section also requires that the accused persons have a specific intent to promote, further, or assist in any criminal conduct by gang members. In addition to the punishment that they receive for the underlying felony, these individuals also may receive a sentence enhancement of an additional two, three, or four years.
Various other enhancements exist for gang-related crimes that require minimum terms of incarceration and restrictions on the ability to seek parole. In some cases, gang-related criminal convictions can yield a life prison sentence. Seeking the advice of a gang crimes attorney in Alameda in this situation may be crucial to avoiding protracted terms of incarceration.
Call an Alameda Gang Crimes Attorney for Help
Hiring an Alameda gang crimes lawyer could be critical to the outcome of the charges that you are facing. Gang affiliations or gang-related activities can result in greatly enhanced sentences under state law. To avoid or reduce the potential for receiving these harsh sentences, securing legal advice and guidance may be essential.
By enlisting the services of legal counsel, you may be able to successfully disassociate yourself from gang activities and minimize your criminal liability. Contact an experienced attorney today.