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Did You Know that Gang Members in California Can Receive Enhanced Sentences?

Posted on in Criminal Defense

San Jose criminal defense lawyers, California gang membersAccording to The Mercury News, three suspects were recently arrested in connection with a recent gang-related stabbing in San Mateo. On the night of the stabbing, police officers were dispatched to the 500 block of North Delaware Street after a 17-year-old was reportedly stabbed by six to eight male attackers. The three men who have been arrested in connection with incident were booked into the San Mateo County Jail on various charges and are suspected of being gang affiliated. Whether or not these suspects are in fact gang members, and whether or not the attack was carried out in furtherance of a gang, may end up being very important facts thanks to California’s gang laws.

California’s Gang Laws

In an effort to cut down on gang activity in California, legislators enacted California Penal Code §186.22 which makes it a crime to participate in a gang and provides for a gang sentencing enhancements for gang members and those who associate with them.

  • The Crime of Participating in a Criminal Gang: In California, it is illegal under code section §186.22(a) to actively participate in any criminal gang by willfully promoting, furthering, or assisting in any felonious criminal conduct committed by members of that gang with knowledge that members of the gang engage in, or have engaged in, a pattern of criminal gang activity. Violators can face imprisonment in county jail for up to one year, or imprisonment in a state prison for up to three years.

  • California’s Gang Sentencing Enhancement: Under code section §186.22(b), any person who is convicted of a felony offense committed for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with any criminal street gang, with the specific intent to (a) promote, (b) further, or (c) assist in any criminal conduct by gang members, can receive an enhanced sentence if he or she is convicted of the underlying felony. Eligible violators can be sentenced to serve an additional two, 15, or even 25 years to life in addition and consecutive to the sentence that he or she receives for committing the felony.

Therefore, if the men arrested in connection with the San Mateo stabbing are charged with felony battery, and the prosecution claims that the defendants are gang members who committed the battery at the direction of their gang, then they will likely face highly enhanced sentences if convicted. It is important that anyone who has been charged with a gang-related crime in California is aware of California’s gang laws and understands that violating these laws can translate into greatly enhanced prison sentences.

Reach Out to Us Today for Professional Assistance

The lawyers at Jachimowicz Law Group have experience in nearly every area of criminal defense and regularly defend clients charged with gang-related and organized crime offenses. No matter how complex your case is, or how bleak your prospects may appear, ensure that your legal rights are protected by consulting with an experienced criminal defense lawyer without delay. Our passionate San Jose criminal defense lawyers handle cases throughout Silicon Valley, the Bay Area, as well as all of Northern California, and would be happy to discuss your legal options with you during a free consultation. Contact us today for help.








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