The State of California is tough on gang crimes. Generally, gang members and associated members of gangs face harsher punishments in Santa Barbara than those who do not have any ties to a gang.

If you or someone you care about has been charged with a gang crime, you need a Santa Barbara gang crimes attorney on your side. At Aron Law Firm, we are well-versed in California’s gang crime laws and can fight to mitigate the penalties or, in some cases, have the charges dropped entirely.

What is Legally Considered Gang Activity in Santa Barbara, California?

California defines a “criminal street gang” as any ongoing organization, association, or group of three or more persons with “a common name or common identifying sign or symbol, and whose members individually or collectively engage in, or have engaged in, a pattern of criminal gang activity.”

However, in order for you to be convicted of a gang crime, the District Attorney must provide proof that you:

  • Were actively participating in a gang when the offense occurred
  • Knew the gang was involved in regular criminal activity
  • Willingly promoted, furthered, or assisted in the gang’s felonious behavior

Although active participation in a gang is required for a gang crime conviction, people who help a gang on a single occasion can face up to three years imprisonment for their connection with the gang.

Common crimes associated with gang activity in Santa Barbara include:

  • Assault
  • Attempted murder
  • Battery
  • Carjacking
  • Counterfeiting
  • Drive-by shooting
  • Drug crimes
  • Extortion
  • Fraud
  • Grand theft
  • Home invasion
  • Homicide
  • Kidnapping
  • Robbery
  • Sex crimes
  • Theft
  • Trespassing
  • Vandalism
  • Weapons crimes
  • Witness intimidation

A skilled Aron Law Firm gang crime defense lawyer may be able to challenge the prosecution by showing evidence that the felony crime in which you have been convicted has no connection to gang activity.

What are the Gang Enhancement Laws in Santa Barbara, California?

Enacted in 1988, California’s Street Terrorism Enforcement and Prevention Act, also known as Penal Code section 186.22, is intended to protect people from fear, intimidation, and physical harm caused by violent groups. The law also increases the punishment for “any person who is convicted of a felony committed for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with any criminal street gang, and with the specific intent to promote, further, or assist in any criminal conduct by gang members.”

Known as “California’s street gang enhancement law,” it allows judges to dole out longer, tougher sentences for crimes committed by people affiliated with gangs. Felony convictions with gang enhancement will have longer prison sentences tacked onto the original penalties. The added prison time can be equally as long or longer than what was given for the original felony.

Facing Gang Sentencing Enhancement in Santa Barbara? Contact a Gang Crimes Attorney at Aron Law Firm Today

A conviction for a gang-related crime could follow you for the rest of your life. Every time you apply for a job, housing, or anything else that requires a background check, your conviction will be there. If you are facing gang-related criminal charges in Santa Barbara, California, a criminal defense attorney can fight to keep your record as clean as possible.

At Aron Law Firm, our focus is on a single objective – to get you to a better place. We may not be able to turn back time, but the collaboration we undertake now will make all the difference. Call (805) 500-0867 or fill out our contact form today to discuss your case with an experienced Santa Barbara gang crimes lawyer. Our phone lines are open to discuss your legal options 24 hours a day, seven days a week.