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Allegations that a person is a member of a “criminal street gang” and committed a crime to promote or benefit the gang can have very serious consequences. Due to the relatively large number of gangs and gang-related crimes in Fresno County, law enforcement agencies and prosecutors often bring gang charges and enhancements. As a result, a defendant may face criminal charges and punishments for being associated with a gang’s unlawful activities and may also face a separate increase in punishment known as “gang enhancements” for any crimes committed for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with a gang.
And, depending on the circumstances of the offense, this could mean an additional 5, 10, 15, or even 25-years-to-life in prison– even if you are not a gang member and even if you are not the individual who is actively and directly responsible for committing the crime.
Gang enhancement cases are especially tough to defend. The important thing to realize is that when you are accused of being a gang member and you are in the court room, everybody will have a biased disposition toward you. The jury looks at you and all they see is a gang member.
The scary thing about California Law in the area of gangs is that one need not be a member of a gang to be charged with gang enhancement. People are often wrongfully accused of being gang members or acting to promote a gang because of their ethnic or racial background, the neighborhood in which they live, or the people they know. These false bases of identifying gang membership can be effectively challenged.
Gang enhancements can add years if not decades to someone’s potential sentence even if they aren’t a member. These are very serious charges, and Criminal Defense Attorney Scott Levy can help people escape overly zealous prosecutors who abuse the gang statutes to imprison people that have done little more than be associated with a gang.
Even if a defendant is believed to be a gang member, it does not mean that any crime is automatically meant to benefit or promote the gang and is therefore subject to a gang enhancement. An experienced attorney may be able to challenge the prosecution’s gang allegations and ultimately defeat a gang charge or enhancement.
Gang crimes can involve a number of offenses, but some of the most common include theft, graffiti, extortion, burglary, robbery, street terrorism, criminal threats, battery, assault, drug crimes, harassment, and murder. Many of these offenses are felonies, which carry heavy fines and lengthy prison sentences. In many gang crime cases, the defendant is charged with committing multiple crimes. Conviction for more than one offense can be disastrous because of the state’s Three Strikes Law. Each conviction for a serious felony will result in another strike, and once you have three strikes on your criminal record, the judge could decide to automatically sentence you to 25 years to life in prison. The consequences of being found guilty can be devastating, which is why it is very important to have an experienced criminal defense attorney.
By presenting background information, character letters and testimonials from loved ones, an experienced attorney can show the jury the whole picture of the defendant. Often times, the defendant was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and that he didn’t want to commit a crime.
As you can see the law relating to gang allegations and enhancements is complicated and not on your side. But just because the prosecution charges you with a street gang sentencing enhancement doesn’t mean it will stick. In fact, our job is to make sure that it doesn't. Only an experienced criminal defense attorney who aggressively fights for you can help get you out of this bad situation. That's why it is crucial that you have Criminal Defense Attorney Scott Levy represent you in court.
If you are faced with a criminal charge in Fresno County, I encourage you to come and sit down face to face with me...Scott Levy...and I will access your case and begin the process of designing a solution to your criminal related problem. The Fresno criminal lawyers in my firm have credentials that are simply unmatched by other, less seasoned attorneys. Before you hire an attorney for such a serious situation...check them out thoroughly!
I will meet with you in absolute confidentiality in my office, and you can evaluate my abilities for yourself.
The information on this Fresno County Criminal Defense Attorney / Law Firm website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this website or associated pages, documents, comments, answers, emails, or other communications should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information on this website is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing of this information does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.
(INDIVIDUAL RESULTS WILL VARY AS EACH CASE IS FACT SPECIFIC)
(DISMISSALS GATHERED BY PENAL CODE 1538.5, PENAL CODE 1385 AND PENAL CODE 1203.4)
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