Charged with a gang crime in Visalia or the surrounding California counties?
If you are convicted of a criminal offense that is gang-related, you face much harsher penalties than otherwise. Under California law, gang members and those who associate with them are subject to what is called gang enhancement law. This means that if you are convicted of a felony that is done for the benefit of a gang, you will face a separate and consecutive prison sentence in addition to the penalties you face for the underlying felony.
If you are facing allegations of being a gang member as well as criminal charges in Tulare, Kings, or Fresno County, you will need an experienced attorney. The Visalia criminal defense attorneys at Martens Law Firm are trial lawyers who are adept at defending criminal cases of all kinds and who will work vigorously on your behalf to defend your rights.
You can discuss your case in a free consultation to get the knowledgeable legal advice you need in the face of any gang crime charges.
California Gang Crimes and Their Consequences
If you are convicted of a misdemeanor committed for the purpose of promoting a gang, it becomes a felony. If you are convicted of a felony that is gang-related, 5 years can be added to your sentence. If you are convicted of a violent felony that was gang-related, such as assault with a weapon, your sentence can be increased by 10 years. Some gang-related crimes can result in life sentences.
Most prosecutors use 10 factors to prove that you are a member of a gang. These same factors are used by law enforcement to document gang members so that harsher sentences can be imposed. You must have at least 3 of the 10 factors to be labeled as a gang member.
These factors can include you:
- Admitting to being a gang member.
- Wear gang symbols or colors.
- Being arrested with other gang members.
- Correspond with gang members.
- Identify affiliation through graffiti.
- Associate with gang members.
- Have gang-related tattoos
- Are photographed showing signs of gang involvement.
If you are questioned by law enforcement regarding being a gang member, involvement in a gang, or gang affiliation, you have the right to remain silent. Even if you are not under arrest, you should not discuss anything with police officers that have to do with gangs. The questions may appear friendly and innocent, but law enforcement will be trying to document you as a gang member. Once you are labeled as part of a gang, you will face much more severe penalties any time you are convicted of a crime.
Contact the Visalia gang crime lawyer at the firm if you have been charged with a crime that is gang-related today.