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Criminal Street Gangs

Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer Explains Criminal Street Gangs

street gang attorneysBecoming involved in a criminal street gang is unlawful within the United States, and when you engage in gang activity in violation of the law, you can face serious consequences. Not only can you be charged with an underlying offense, but additional penalties can be imposed because of your involvement with an organized gang that engages in unlawful activity.

Those who engage in misconduct as part of a street gang may not only face charges on the state level, but could also be charged with a federal crime.

Federal charges generally are much more serious because the penalties are harsher and because the U.S. government has many prosecutorial and investigative resources that can be used to try to secure a conviction.

Not all criminal defense attorneys are experienced in providing representation to defendants facing federal charges, and it is imperative that you find a federal criminal attorney who understands the ins-and-outs of federal cases and who knows the laws applicable to crimes involving street gangs. You need an attorney with the right knowledge and skill to help you defend your future.

LV Criminal Defense can help. We provide representation to clients in Arizona, California, Utah, and Nevada who have been charged with federal offenses, including crimes related to gang activity. We will work hard to help you fight for acquittal or to get charges dropped. We will also help you to negotiate a plea agreement in appropriate circumstances where you decide that you do not want to fight the federal charges that you are faced with.

You should give us a call as soon as you have been accused of involvement with a gang or as soon as you are charged with a federal offense related to street gangs so we can begin working on your defense strategy right away. Contact us now to get a compassionate and knowledgeable legal advocate on your side.

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Nick Wooldridge has a long track record of representing clients accused of serious federal and state crimes in Nevada.

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Federal Laws on Criminal Street Gangs

Chapter 26 of Title 18 of the federal code is the part of the law that deals with crimes involving criminal street gangs. There is one statute within this chapter: 18 U.S. Code section 521. This statute establishes the definitions relevant to determining if you committed an offense, defines the types of offenses that can be committed, explains the circumstances in which a defendant can be charged, and imposes penalties upon defendants who violate federal laws.

According to the relevant statute, a person who is convicted of an offense that is described within the statute can have his or her sentence for the underlying offense increased by up to 10 additional years of imprisonment if the offense is committed under specific circumstances that are defined within the statute.

The offenses that could potentially result in a defendant being given an additional sentence of up to 10 years under 18 U.S. Code section 521 include federal felonies involving controlled substances; federal felonies that involve the use or attempted use of physical force; and conspiracy to commit either of these offenses.

The circumstances under which committing one of these crimes can result in an additional sentence under 18 U.S. Code Section 521 include:

  • Situations where a defendant participates in a criminal street gang with knowledge that the members of the gang commit federal felonies related to drug crimes or commit crimes of violence involving the use or attempted use of force.
  • Situations where a defendant intends to promote or further felonious activities of a criminal street gang.
  • Situations where a defendant commits a drug crime or crime involving the use or threatened use of force for purposes of the defendant maintaining his position within the gang.
  • Situations where a defendant has been convicted of a state or federal offense related to drugs or felony charges within the prior five years.
  • Circumstances where other federal or state felony offenses are committed that involve a substantial risk that physical force will be used when the crime is committed.
  • Conspiracies to commit offenses described elsewhere in 18 U.S. Code section 521.

Finally, the definitions section of the statute defines a criminal street gang to include an ongoing club, group, association or organization of at least five people that was organized for the primary purpose of committing crimes involving controlled substances or the use of physical force and whose members have engaged in a continuing series of such crimes within the past five years.

For the defendant to face federal charges, the activities of the street gang must have impacted interstate or foreign commerce in some way.

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Getting Help From a Federal Criminal Defense Attorney

Being accused of involvement with criminal street gangs can have very serious and profound consequences. In addition to whatever sentence you must serve due to the underlying criminal offense you have been charged with, when you are found to be a member of a criminal street gang, you could face up to an additional decade of imprisonment. Obviously, you want to do everything possible to avoid this consequence so your life is not derailed by a lengthy prison sentence.

LV Criminal Defense is here and ready to help you. We have successfully represented many defendants in California, Arizona, Utah, and Nevada who were accused of serious federal felonies including charges related to involvement with a criminal street gang. We will help you to explore all of the options available to you that could help you to avoid this additional 10 year sentence and we can also represent you in fighting the underlying criminal charges you face as well.

When you need a federal criminal defense attorney with the experience to defend you in court or negotiate the most favorable possible plea agreement, our firm is the firm to turn to. Give us a call today to talk with a compassionate and knowledgeable member of our legal team about how we can help you to fight charges and protect your future.

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