Oakland Gang Crimes Lawyer
All criminal charges are serious, but gang crime charges can be especially intimidating. However, you do not have to face them alone. An experienced Oakland gang crimes lawyer could be an effective part of your strategy in defending against those charges.
Although gang charges can result from being actively involved in a gang, they can also result from being in the wrong place at the wrong time. No matter the reason you may be facing these charges, an aggressive criminal defense attorney knows that you still have rights that need to be protected.
Understanding Gang Crimes
Criminal actions such as theft, assault, kidnapping, and murder are all punishable through the criminal justice system. When those crimes are committed in relation to gang involvement, they may be charged as gang crimes as per California Penal Code 186.22(b) PC. This generally means that the person facing the charges faces enhanced penalties.
The first thing that the state must prove when it comes to gang crimes is that the individual being accused was involved in a gang. Generally, a group is considered a gang when:
- There is a group of three or more people
- That group asserts a particular identity
- The members of the group have a similar purpose
- Either the group or its individual members are engaged in criminal activity
One important aspect of defining a gang as above is that the association between the group of people can be formal or informal. In other words, the group can actively aim to be a gang or they can simply qualify as one by default if they meet this often-subjective definition.
To be charged with gang crimes, the criminal activity in question must be committed in furtherance of the gang’s alleged purpose. That is, it must be done to benefit the gang in some way. Therefore, even individuals who are not actively part of a gang but who allegedly commit a crime for the benefit of that gang or at that gang’s direction can face gang crime charges.
The state takes gang crimes very seriously. As part of the state’s approach to curbing gang-related violence, the legislature had enabled heightened sentencing for gang crime convictions. Under California Penal Code 186.22(b) PC, a person can receive an additional two to 10 years for allegedly committing a gang crime depending on the severity of the alleged offense. The exact amount of time is generally left to the court’s discretion.
The exact consequences a person may face are heavily dependent on the details of the alleged crime. There may be other important factors that play a role, such as the use of a weapon or the existence of a criminal record. A capable Oakland gang crimes lawyer who has worked with individuals facing these charges could help anyone facing these charges understand more about what is at stake in their case.
There is a great deal on the line when it comes to facing gang crime charges. Many offenses can result in extensive prison sentences and heavy fines in addition to creating or adding to a criminal record.
That criminal record can follow you for a lifetime, therefore it is important to understand the charges against you as well as your rights and how to assert them. Working with an experienced legal advocate who understands important nuances in the law and how they may apply to your case may be an integral part of your defense strategy.
If you are facing gang crime charges, time may be of the essence. The sooner you start advocating for your rights, the more beneficial it may be for you. Contact an adept Oakland gang crimes lawyer who could work with you in exploring your options.