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Defending Californians who have been charged with Gang-related Violent Crimes in California
A conviction of a gang-related crime of violence in California can result in serious penalties and limitations on your freedom. The California Penal Code also provides for a gang sentencing enhancement, which can subject you to even harsher penalties under certain circumstances.
If you have been charged with gang violence in the State of California, the experienced criminal defense lawyers at The Law Offices of David S. Chesley may be able to help. Our skilled team of attorneys may be able to challenge the prosecution’s case, negotiate with the prosecutor for a favorable plea deal, or argue against recommended penalties and sentencing enhancements.
In order for a California prosecutor to convict you of participating in a street gang, he or she must be able to show the following:
Under the gang enhancement law in the State of California, active participation in a gang activity means that the accused was not a mere passive or nominal participant in the gang. However, the accused may still have actively participated in the gang’s activities if he or she was not a member or leader of the criminal gang. Closely associating with certain gang members, for example, may be sufficient.
A criminal street gang is a criminal organization consisting of at least three people. In order to be classified as a criminal street gang, the gang must have a common sign, symbol, or name. Moreover, the group must take part in crimes and must show a pattern of engaging in criminal gang activity on a regular basis. In order for there to be a pattern of gang activity, the following must have taken place:
There are several relatively common criminal offenses which can be used to establish a criminal gang activity pattern. Those offenses include robbery, drive-by shootings, drug offenses (including sale, transportation, manufacture, and possession of drugs with intent to sell), assault with a deadly weapon, murder, and vandalism.
Finally, the prosecution must be able to show that you furthered, assisted, or promoted criminal gang activity. In order for the prosecutor to meet his or burden of proof, you must have assisted in the commission of a felony, or you must have actually committed a felony offense under California law. You must have also committed the offense with other members of a criminal gang, as opposed to committing the crime on your own.
If you are charged with and convicted of participating in a criminal gang, you will likely be facing serious criminal penalties and other consequences. Since participating in a criminal gang constitutes a wobbler crime under the California Penal Code, the prosecutor may bring the charge as either a felony or a misdemeanor.
If you sustain a misdemeanor conviction under the law, a judge can sentence you to a maximum of one year of incarceration in the county jail. In addition, a judge may impose a maximum monetary fine of $1,000. If you are convicted of felony gang participation, however, the potential sentences increase dramatically. In those instances, a judge can sentence you to sixteen months, two years, or three years in a state prison in California. In addition, a judge could impose a maximum monetary fine against you in the amount of $10,000.
The skilled California gang-related violence defense lawyers at The Law Offices of David S. Chesley can advocate on your behalf for a good plea deal, a reduction of your criminal charge, or a lesser penalty upon conviction.
If you sustain a criminal conviction in California, you may receive a criminal sentence enhancement, provided that the State prosecutor is able to satisfy all of the sentencing enhancement elements. When it comes to criminal street gangs, those additional elements include the following:
In addition to proving these “enhancement elements,” the California prosecutor must be able to prove all of the elements of the underlying criminal offense beyond a reasonable doubt. If the prosecutor is unable to do so, you are not eligible to receive the enhancement penalties. Moreover, in order for you to receive the enhancement penalties, you need not have actively participated in the gang at that time or been a gang member.
The amount of time that a sentencing enhancement will add to your sentence depends upon the nature of the underlying crime with which you were charged. For example, if you sustained a felony conviction and the sentencing enhancement for street gangs applies, you can receive an additional two, three, or four years in jail. If the underlying felony is a serious felony, including certain drug crimes, an additional five years can be tacked on to your criminal sentence. If the underlying felony is a violent felony, such as murder or a sex crime, you can receive an additional ten years in jail.
Other felonies can result in even longer sentencing enhancements when committed with the intention of promoting or assisting a gang. Those felonies include home invasion robbery, carjacking, shooting into an occupied car or inhabited dwelling place, or taking part in a drive-by shooting. These offenses can lead to an additional 15 years’ incarceration. Extortion offenses or dissuading a witness can result in seven years’ incarceration up to life imprisonment.
Finally, under certain circumstances, a prosecutor may be able to convert any misdemeanor charge into a felony charge if the person commits the crime to benefit a street gang – or with the intention of promotion or assisting gang members with criminal activity.
Under the California Penal Code, judges in the State of California have the discretion to strike the criminal gang enhancement. In order for this to happen, a criminal defense lawyer must be able to persuade the judge that the interests of justice require that the gang enhancement be stricken from consideration. The skilled legal team at The Law Offices of David S. Chesley may be able to convince a judge that your case falls into one of these limited exceptions.
To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with our California gang-related violence lawyer, please call us today at 1-800-755-5174, or contact us online.
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Multiple defendants each facing 7 years charged with smuggling prescription drugs into California from Mexico our client was the only defendant who received NO JAIL TIME!
Client facing 5 years for possession of deadly weapon we negotiated a plea for NO JAIL TIME!
Client facing 3 life terms for multiple felony counts of Child Molestation and Sodomy with child we proved the charges were fabricated by victims mother DISMISSAL of all charges at preliminary hearing!
Strike case: Client charged with possession of methamphetamine facing 25 years we filed a Romero Motion which was granted case REDUCED TO MISDEMEANOR!
Client's estranged girlfriend alleged Client broke into her room and choked her facing 14 years in State Prison we won at trial JURY ACQUITTAL.
Police allegedly discovered 3 bags of marijuana in client's glove box faced 6 years we filed a 1538.5 motion to suppress resulting in DISMISSAL of all charges!
Client allegedly sold rock cocaine to undercover officer faced 10 years following our argument client received NO JAIL TIME!
Client facing 15 years for Armed Robbery we proved misidentification Judge DISMISSED the case!
Rodrigo L. San Fernando, CA (Sherman Oaks Yelp Review)
I am truly pleased with my experience with the Law Offices Of David S Chesley. They answered all my questions and provided me with great advice and legal services. My case resolved quickly. Thank you!
Ricardo Esteves Los Angeles, CA (Los Angeles Google Places Review)
I left court yesterday with my last case being wrapped up. Two court appearances and that's it. He represented me in a couple of different cases and was impressive to say the least. Always a phone call or text message away. Confident and aggressive when he needed to be. Calming and thorough when meeting with me. Attorney Chesley did exactly what he said he would and I got the results I needed. He seemed to know all the right people at the Temple Street courthouse. You can always get in contact with him quickly and he is a great lawyer. I highly recommend his legal services.
Erica Geller Ontario, CA (Ontario Facebook review)
My brother was given a very caring attorney that was assigned to his case and we had very helpful case managers throughout the process. I strongly recommend David Chesley to anyone who is in trouble. I called in to get help on my brothers case and right away I liked their service. My brothers charges were eventually dismissed after the attorney got him into a program, now he could go on without the trouble of having anything on his record
Elizabeth F. San Diego, CA (San Diego Google Places Review)
I retained Mr. Chesley and his firm and from the beginning they were extremely professional both in communicating the status of my case to me, explaining the situation as a whole, and just downright taking care of business. It was money well spent for a job well done. Thanks again to David and Melissa others that worked on my case. I recommend this firm to anyone in need of legal representation. Don’t just accept things the courts force on you, call this firm and protect yourself.
Leon Hanley Los Angeles, CA (Los Angeles Avvo review)
I contacted Mr. Chesley and his firm because some unfortunate events had left me in a jam. Detectives were demanding I testify or be prosecuted for a crime I didn’t commit. (I wasn’t involved or even at the scene of the alleged crime when it supposedly took place.) Mr. Chesley explained to me that he had been through similar situations with his clients before and understood exactly what was going on. His response to what took place was nothing short of amazing. No matter how small my concern, Mr. Chesley addressed it in a timely manner. He advocated for what is right and empathized with me in dealing with the Court system. After meeting with the supervising D.A. and providing alibi evidence he was able to get me out the situation. I’m very grateful to have found him.
Britanny Givens Newport Beach, CA (Newport Beach Google Places)
I hired David Chesley for my criminal defense in 2012. he was recommended to us for is success results and his low fees. David is very smart and his professional legal advice was honest & much appreciated during these stressful time. David's knowledge, advice, and communication about what we were to expect was reassuring and beneficial to me. He charged me a reasonable flat rate and didn't charge me any surprise fees. In my case David Chesley was able to negotiate with the prosecution attorney for the best result I could hope for. He had success at getting my criminal charges dismissed with the judges approval. You will not be disappointed if you hire The Law Offices of David S. Chesley.
Andrew A. North Hollywood, CA (Better Business Bureau review)
David is very professional, yet very casual. Although it is typically not easy to speak straight up with an attorney, he is very easy to talk to. He replied to my questions quickly and was available all hours. Not only did he get my case resolved with a dismissal, he went above and beyond and got me an expungement without me even requesting it. He never beats around the bush and tells you like it is. At the same time is willing to work overtime to get the results you request. I would use David's services again in the future.