To curb the surge in gang-related crimes, California enacted the Street Terrorism Enforcement and Prevention Act (“STEP Act”) which was codified in section 186.22 of the California Penal Code. This section allows prosecutors to seek enhanced penalties and stiffer sentences for any crimes done in furtherance of a criminal street gang. The District Attorney’s Office will aggressively prosecute anyone they believe committed the crime to further gang activities or if the crime was in any way associated with a gang. Common gang-related crimes include assault, battery, drug offenses, auto theft, burglary, robbery, drive-by shooting, kidnapping, murder, weapon offenses, rape or sexual assault, and more. While the penalties associated with these crimes, in general, are harsh, prosecutors can use Section 186.22 to enhance punishments even more. Your misdemeanor, for example, could be charged as a felony, and substantial prison time can be added to your felony even if you yourself are not a gang member.
The attorneys at Kundani Chang Khinda & Wilson LLP have a great deal of experience in gang-related crimes. As former prosecutors, we have not only prosecuted gang crimes but our attorneys have even trained local, state, and national law enforcement agencies on gang-related offenses, including presentations to the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, the Los Angeles Police Department, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the California Gang Investigator’s Association.
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