Gang Crime Defense Attorneys & Lawyers in Fresno, California



Gang Crimes

At Law Men, the defense NEVER rests!

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:

  • Local street gangs
  • National street gangs
  • Prison gangs,
  • Motorcycle gangs
  • Ethnic gangs
  • Juvenile gangs – Young people can be attracted to joining a youth gang for a number of reasons. Gangs can become an important social institution for low income youths and young adults because they often serve as cultural, social, and economic functions which are no longer served by the family, school, or labor market. These gangs tend to emerge during times of rapid social change and instability and provide a degree of order and solidarity for their members.
  • Organized crime gangs
  • Military gangs – Members in uniform use their military knowledge, skills, and weapons to commit and facilitate various crimes. As of April 2011 at least 53 gangs whose members have served in or are affiliated with US military.

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.

Definition of Gang Enhancement

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:

  • Any person who actively participates in any criminal street gang with knowledge that its members engage in or have engaged in a pattern of criminal gang activity, and who willfully promotes, furthers, or assists in any felonious criminal conduct by members of that gang, shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for a period not to exceed one year, or by imprisonment in the state prison for 16 months, or two or three years. If the crime is a violent felony the person can be punished by an additional term of 10 years.
  • If the underlying felony described in paragraph (a) is 
committed on the grounds of, or within 1,000 feet of, a public or
private elementary, vocational, junior high, or high school, during
 the hours in which the facility is open for classes or school-related
programs or when minors are using the facility, that fact shall be a
 circumstance in aggravation of the crime in imposing a term.

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.

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