Los Angeles Gang Crime Lawyer
Definition of Street Gang Under Federal Law
Law enforcement has been heavily focused on preventing crimes committed by street gangs. Under 18 USC § 521, certain crimes committed by street gangs are explicitly prohibited. The definition of "street gang" under this section is an ongoing group, club, organization, or association of five or more persons with the ongoing intent of committing federal drug and/or violent crimes, with members who engage or have engaged in a continuing series of offenses within the past five years, the activities of which interfere with interstate or foreign commerce.
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Penalties for Street Gang Crimes
If a street gang member has previously been convicted for a federal drug crime or violent crime within the past five years and is convicted for a subsequent street gang, they may face a sentencing enhancement of up to 10 years. Other enhancements involving gang activity can also lead to increased penalties.
California Penal Code § 186.22 is a law that was passed as part of the California Street Terrorism Enforcement and Prevention Act. PC § 186.22 consists of two main parts:
- 186.22(a) makes it illegal to participate in a street gang and assist in the commission of a felony criminal offense.
- 186.22(b) establishes mandatory prison sentences for anyone who commits a felony for the benefit of a gang.
Sentencing enhancements for gang activity under § 186.22 can vary depending on the circumstances involved in a case and may range from an additional 2 to 15 years to 25 years to life in prison.
To discuss your case with a Los Angeles gang crime attorney from Lessem, Newstat & Tooson, LLP, call (800) 462-7160 for a free consultation.
Proven Gang Crime Defense in Los Angeles
Crimes involving gang activity and gang enhancements should not be taken lightly. If you or someone you know if currently facing these types of charges, it is important to speak with experienced and proven attorneys as soon as possible.
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