California Penal Code section 186.22 is concerned with the activities of criminal street gangs. Individuals can be prosecuted under this section either for active participation in a criminal street gang (section A) or for committing a crime that directly benefits a criminal street gang (section B). For section A, “active participation” generally requires knowledge of a pattern of criminal activity on the part of the members of the gang, but this charge can be brought up as a crime in itself. Section B provides a sentencing enhancement for felonies carried out with the intent to aid or benefit a specific criminal street gang.
CHARGED WITH A GANG RELATED OFFENSE?
Most criminal street gang related charges are enhancements that often add substantial prison time to other felony charges if convicted. The standard prison time extension is two to four years at the court’s discretion. Serious felonies defined in California Code Section 1192.7(c) receive an automatic five year increase in prison time. Violent felonies confer an additional ten years. Those convicted of “active participation” in a criminal street gang as a crime in itself face up to three years in a state prison.
DEMAND AN ATTORNEY EXPERIENCED IN CRIMINAL STREET GANG CHARGES
Regardless of the specifics of any gang related charges you may be facing, the attorneys at Okabe & Haushalter believe everyone deserves a fair trial. The most direct approach to fighting gang related enhancements is simply not being convicted of the underlying crime. Another important distinction exists between active and passive participation in a criminal street gang. If the prosecution cannot prove active participation, a conviction is unlikely. Membership and affiliation are not sufficient to establish active participation. If you are facing any gang related charges or enhancements, contact the seasoned attorneys at Okabe & Haushalter. Protect your reputation and way of life. Call Okabe & Haushalter today for a free consultation. We always fight for the best possible outcome for our clients.