In Georgia, Criminal Gang Activity is defined as the commission, attempted commission, conspiracy to commit, requesting somebody else to commit, or forcing them to commit any offenses defined as racketeering activity or various criminal activities outlined in the law. A Criminal Street Gang is an organization or association of three or more persons, which is engaged in criminal gang activity as defined in the law. The existence of that organization or association can be established by evidence of common name, identifying signals, symbols, tattoos, hand gestures, common activities, or behaviors. If three or more people are together but are not engaged in criminal gang activity, it is not a criminal gang and is not illegal.
Participation in Criminal Gang Activity Requires Affiliation and Action
It is only unlawful under the participation in criminal gang activity statute to be associated with a criminal gang if a person either conducts or participates in criminal gang activity as defined by the law. It’s also illegal to do any offenses defined in the law with the intent to obtain or earn membership in a criminal street gang, to obtain proceeds derived from any criminal gang activity, or to organize or maintain a position of leadership while the group engages directly or indirectly in conspiring to commit criminal gang activity as defined by the law.
It’s also illegal to request somebody else who is associated with a criminal gang activity to violate the laws outlined in the subsection. Even threatening harm to an individual or property to further the interests of the criminal gang or group is considered participation in criminal gang activity.
How Much Time in Jail for Participation in Criminal Street Gang Activity
A person charged with violating the participation in criminal gang activity law faces anywhere from five to 20 years in prison. That is in addition to whatever charges or criminal activity that the State is alleging is in furtherance of the criminal gang. In other words, you can be charged with any individual crime and then also face a second charge for doing those acts in Participation in Criminal Street Gang Activity. So a person convicted of violating the Participation in Criminal Street Gang Activity Law faces an additional five to 20 years for just participating in criminal gang activity by violating the law.
Can They Keep Your Stuff? – Civil Forfeiture
In addition to criminal penalties, anyone charged with violating criminal gang activity faces civil forfeiture for the proceeds or property in their possession or obtained through violating the Participation in Street Gang Activity Statute. Your conviction for participation in criminal gang activity can stop you from challenging any civil forfeitures against you where the State is rying to keep your property associated with the crime. That means any property you have when you’re arrested for this charge or any property obtained through whatever allegations the state is alleging can be taken from you without a chance to fight the process if you are convicted under the Criminal Law.
How to Fight Participation in Criminal Street Gang Activity Charges
Participation in Criminal Street Gang Activity Charges can be notoriously hard to prove. They are often considered a tack-on charge, meaning it greatly increases the possible punishment for an offense, but the State has to prove more than just the commission of a crime. They must prove the commission of a crime in conjunction with the affiliation with a Criminal Street Gang.
Hiring the right attorney can greatly increase your chances of winning a case at trial. To charge you with this type of crime, generally the state has to prove an agreement between three or more people and an affiliation of some kind. In relation to the gang statute, the state has to prove some type of link like tattoos, clothing, catchphrases, and then secondly the generalized commission of crimes as outlined in the gang activity statute. To be charged under criminal street gang activity law, you don’t have to be the person actually committing the crime comma if you are in agreement or do something in furtherance of the crime.
There are also many ways the state can prove the existence of criminal street gang or activity, but they are not slam dunk cases. The State must show more than just a loose affiliation. That’s why it’s so important to have the help of an experienced attorney to fight these charges. There are multiple ways to greatly help your chances at trial and help your attorney to defend your case
Do Not Speak with the Police or Law Enforcement Without a Lawyer
If you’re facing allegations of gang related activity it is always best not to speak to the police or answer any law enforcement questions without a lawyer present. Police are trained in getting information from you. Generally when they are asking you questions, the questions are geared toward getting you to admit some type of criminal wrongdoing.
They are looking for anything they can use against you in court. Its always best to say nothing and request an attorney prior to speaking with any law enforcement officers because anything you say can be used against you. On the other hand, The Judge is required to tell a Jury at trial that they cannot use your refusal to answer questions against you in any way. Its also always best to not consent to any searches of home or vehicle. If you do not consent, the police must obtain a warrant to search your home or car with some exceptions.
Hire an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer
Hiring an experienced criminal defense lawyer with experience fighting criminal street gang activity charges can make the difference between conviction and a Not Guilty Verdict. If you’re being investigated for Participation in criminal Street Gang Activity, you need a lawyer that specializes in these types of cases, and understands what the state has to prove. An experienced criminal street gang activity criminal defense attorney knows how to best support your case, build a defense and advise you in the best way to make sure these charges impact you in the minimum way possible.
For our clients charged with Participation in Criminal Street Gang Activity, we coordinate a lengthy and personalized in-depth investigation into all the underlying facts and witnesses supporting the case. We review all of the evidence with our clients showing all of the facts and circumstances the state intends to use against us at trial for participation in criminal street gang activity.
It’s also important to have a criminal defense attorney experienced not only with criminal street gang activity charges but a wide variety of other criminal defenses because most criminal street gang activity allegations are supported by some underlying crime, like a robbery, armed robbery, prostitution, Drug Cases, or violent crimes. At the freedom lawyers we have extensive experience defending all types of criminal cases including Armed robbery and violent crimes and drug crimes associated with criminal street gang activity. As former Fulton County prosecutors we know the community and know what the state needs to do to prove your case. We are experienced and we fight to win. Contact us now for a free consultation on your criminal street gang activity case.