San Joaquin Gang Crimes Lawyer
Defending Against Gang-Related Crimes in Fresno, Sacramento, & Stanislaus counties
The state of California has sought to crack down on gang violence and in doing so, has created a new class of criminal violations that can have unintended consequences. Those consequences include the potential for innocent people to be charged with crimes they did not commit or for those who may have made mistakes to be charged and sentenced more severely than might be appropriate. Whether it’s the falsely accused or the person who needs a second chance, our experienced San Joaquin gang crimes lawyer is prepared to lead the legal fight.
For over a decade, Krueger Legal has been in the trenches of the criminal justice system. From our San Joaquin office, we serve all of Fresno County and throughout Sacramento and Stanislaus counties. We offer free consultations and payment plans.
What is Considered Gang Crime in California?
According to California law, a gang is an association of 3 or more people that has an established group identity and a record—either individually or collectively—of gang activity. If a person is a part of this gang, and then commits an offense that is considered at the behest of or for the benefit of the gang it can be considered a gang crime.
The crimes associated with gang activity are crimes regardless of the circumstances. It is quite clearly against the law to commit assault, sexual violence, robbery, or any other felony, regardless of whether one is in a gang or not. But there are certain circumstances that can if proven by the District Attorney’s office, result in enhanced sentencing.
Gang Enhancement Sentencing
Simply being a part of a criminal gang means a potential prison sentence as long as 3 years. This is before any additional crime is considered. In the event the defendant is charged with other felonies, proven gang membership will allow a judge to issue more severe sentences that can vary depending on the crime involved.
For example, burglary is a crime associated with gangs. A second-degree felony burglary conviction, standing its own, has a maximum sentence of 3 years in jail. However, if this is considered a gang crime, that sentence might be as long as 7 years. Other offenses, particularly those to be considered violent crimes, could result in an additional 10 years being added to the original sentence.
All of these different charges add up. The defendant can be charged with gang membership, the actual crime, plus the enhancement that comes with that gang activity. It’s not hard for a scenario that might have resulted in a sentence of 2 years can escalate into a decade or more behind bars.
Defense Strategies Against Gang Crime Charges
Defense strategies can be pursued along two lines. The most direct is to contest the underlying crime itself. The second is to dispute that the defendant belongs to a gang.
Our founding partner, Attorney Phillip Krueger, has past experience on the prosecution’s side of the aisle. He knows firsthand that proving either of these things is not necessarily easy and requires considerable evidence to bring before the court. A person who simply has conversations with, or is even friends with, the members of a gang, is not necessarily a member themselves. Prosecutors have to prove that the defendant actively and knowingly promoted the gang’s collective criminal activities.
Proving the underlying crime is no easy task either. The American criminal justice system requires that all defendants be considered innocent until proven otherwise and that the case against them be beyond any reasonable doubt. That’s hard to persuade even a single person, much less to secure a unanimous verdict among 12 jurors.
Everyone deserves fairness in the justice system. Too often, society’s rightful concern over gang violence has led to overreach by prosecutors and unfair treatment of defendants. At Krueger Legal, defendants find an experienced, aggressive, qualified San Joaquin gang crimes lawyer who knows how to investigate a case and then vigorously contest the prosecution’s case.
Contact Krueger Legal today to get started on your defense with our San Joaquin gang crimes lawyer.
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