A gang is a group of three or more individuals who engage in criminal activity and identify themselves with a common name or sign. Most gang members have identifying characteristics unique to their specific gang. Tattoos are one common identifier and help a gang member not only help them gain respect within their group but also will mark them as members for life. Disrespecting a gang member’s color by an individual not associated with that specific gang is regarded as grounds for violent retaliation.
Gangs in the United States include several types of groups:
Gangs are responsible for many street-crime activities such as weapons, human trafficking (including prostitution and kidnapping), drug trafficking, robbery, murder (including contract killings and assassinations), copyright infringement, counterfeiting, identity theft, money laundering, extortion, illegal gambling, and terrorism.
Gang-related activity and violence has increased along the U.S. southwest border region, as US-based gangs act as enforcers for Mexican drug cartels. Homicides that are related to gangs are concentrated mostly in the largest cities in the United States.
According to the National Gang Intelligence Center (NGIC) of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in 2011 there were approximately 1.4 million active gang members comprising more than 33,500 gangs in the United States. Gang sizes can range in size from five or ten to several thousand.
The gang enhancement law, Gang Enhancement Penal Code 186.22 was created in 1994 and was written to deter people from associating with gangs and committing crimes. The penal code states the following:
The enhancement is usually added on to an existing charge. For example, if you are accused of robbing a convenience store you will likely be charged with theft. If it is then discovered that you were acting with a known gang, you will be charged with not only theft but also gang enhancement. If a gang enhancement is added onto a simple assault charge, your case goes from a misdemeanor matter to a felony and you may face extended jail time and much larger fines.
The enhancement of a criminal penalty means the increase of punishment, such as by increasing a jail sentence. The second part of Penal Code 186.22 involves the gang sentencing enhancement stating that there is no requirement that an individual, subject to this gang enhancement be an “active participant” in the gang. This law states that anyone who commits a felony for the benefit of a gang will receive a mandatory prison sentence in addition and consecutive to the penalty he/she receives for the underlying felony.
The Criminal Street Gang Enhancement Law also known as the California Street Terrorism Enforcement and Prevention Act requires you to obtain the professional and knowledgeable services of The Law Men.