Gang Crime Attorney in San Diego
Being accused of a gang-related crime is serious. While there are many federal laws pertaining to gangs, California has created its own laws on gang violence and other crimes, such as burglary and robbery. When someone is charged with a gang crime in San Diego, he or she is most often charged with the original crime, such as assault or murder, and given an extended sentence as a gang enhancement.
Anyone charged with a gang crime in California needs to speak with a competent lawyer right away. Our team at jD LAW, P.C., is led by James N. Dicks, a former LAPD investigator and board-certified criminal defense specialist. We will go to work to beat the charges and get you the best possible outcome. Time is of the essence, so call (760) 630-2000 now for a free consultation.
While any crime can be considered a "gang crime," some are more commonly charged than others, such as:
- Drug crimes
- Sexual assault or rape
- Auto theft
- Drive-by and walk-by shootings
- Shooting at a dwelling known to be inhabited
- Weapons offenses
- Attempted murder
In California, gang crimes are covered under a portion of the Street Terrorism Enforcement and Prevention Act (STEP), section 186.22 of the Penal Code.
Section 186.22(a) states that it is a crime to be a participant in a gang. This section also makes it illegal to help gang members commit any felony. Depending on the crime and the circumstances surrounding it, a person may be charged with a misdemeanor and face anywhere from 16 months to three years in state prison.
Section 186.22(b) states that sentencing can be enhanced upon conviction if it was found that a person committed a felony for the benefit of a gang. This enhancement can be from two to 25 years to life in prison, and will be added to any sentence imposed for the original crime.
You can receive a gang enhancement even if you are not a member of a gang. The prosecution simply has to show that the crime was committed in relation to gang activity.
Just as there are two parts to gang-related charges, the original crime and the gang component, there are two parts to a defense: defending the original crime, which can include a defense of mistaken identity or self-defense; and proving the crime was not gang-related.
In all criminal cases, the burden of proof is on the prosecution. Not only will the prosecution have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the crime, they will also have to prove you were working on behalf of, or to the benefit of, a gang. An experienced San Diego criminal defense attorney can dismantle this argument, working to prove you had no known ties to the gang and did not act on its behalf.
If you have been charged with a gang crime, it may seem hopeless, but it is not. Our criminal defense lawyers will be able to provide the strong defense you need. Our founding attorney is a former police investigator, and we know how to research and present these cases to their best effect.
These charges can be difficult to fight, and you should not try to do it on your own. To give yourself the best possible chance of a successful outcome in court, contact jD LAW, P.C., at (760) 630-2000. Your consultation is free, and the sooner you call us, the better our chances of helping you.
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