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Penal Code § 186.22 is broken down into to sections. The substantive gang crime of active participation in a criminal street gang and gang enhancements. Under Penal Code § 186.22(a) is "actively participating in a criminal street gang." That section makes illegal (1) Active participation in a gang (2) Knowing that the members engage in a pattern of criminal street gang activity and (3) Willful promotion, furtherance or assistance in any felony conduct by members of the gang. This section is a "wobbler" and can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. If charged as a misdemeanor the maximum jail sentence that can be imposed is 1 year. If charged as a felony the sentencing triad is 16 months, 2 years or 3 in custody and a fine up to $10,000 dollars. It is also a strike under the "three strikes law" if charged as a felony. This area of law is very complex and is always changing.
Penal Code § 186.22(b) is the gang enhancement statute. In essence any charge can come with a gang enhancement if the person who committed the crime did so for the purpose of promoting a criminal street gang. The main concern here is that a gang enhancement can add 5 year, 10 year or even up to 25 to life in prison on top of the underlying charge.
Someone accused of a gang crime should without a doubt have an attorney assisting them. Call The Bogan Law Firm, A Professional Corporation if you are looking for an attorney to fight for your freedom.