Riverside Gang Charges Lawyer

California has some of the strictest penalties for gang-related offenses. The state actively seeks to severely punish persons associated with gangs or found guilty of gang-related crimes. If you are in Riverside and are charged with a gang-related offense, you must get an experienced Riverside gang charges lawyer as soon as possible.

Since the enactment of the California Street Gang Enhancement Law (also known as the Street Terrorism Enforcement and Prevention Act, or STEP), the state has been punishing felonies and misdemeanors and gang association crimes more harshly than any other similar non-gang-related crimes. Getting the right gang charges attorney could make the difference between you walking free or getting the harshest possible sentence under the penal code.

Arrested Or Charged With A Gang-related Crime In Riverside?

Getting arrested for a gang-related offense can be a terrifying experience. Regardless of how friendly or intimidating the officers are, you must stay calm and say nothing that may implicate you until you talk to a Riverside gang charges lawyer. Similarly to all criminal matters, large or small, a calm detail centered approach along with your attorney will help you understand why you were arrested and, most importantly, the next step to take.

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Gang Enhancements In California

The California Penal Code 186.22 PC, or the STEP Act, was purposefully adopted to impose harsh punishments on gang members, gang activity, and gang-related crimes.

The penal code defines a gang as an ongoing group of three or more people with a common name or an identifying symbol whose primary activities involve committing crimes. The police often prove the existence of a gang by identifying a pattern of criminal activities the said gang is suspected of committing.

To prove gang crimes, the prosecution is required to establish:

  1. That you actively took part in a criminal street gang
  2. That you knew that members of the gang engaged in patterns of criminal gang activities when you participated
  3. That you willfully promoted, furthered, or assisted felony criminal activities of the gang by committing or aiding and abetting a felony

Under the gang enhancement law, defendants accused of a crime that meets certain conditions or are judged to be a part of a specific gang may receive ‘enhanced’ sanctions. This means that you may receive a profoundly long custodial sentence under the law for gang affiliation if you are found guilty.

When Do I Need To Call A Riverside Gang Charges Attorney?

Ideally, a gang-related criminal charge is best addressed by a Riverside gang charges attorney from the beginning. This means that you need a qualified and experienced gang charges lawyer by your side as soon as you are arrested.

It is crucial that you invest your efforts in finding the right lawyer who knows their way around gang charges and dealing with Riverside police and prosecutors.

Don’t let one wrong decision impact your life, job or freedom.

Call today for a free case evaluation.

Possible Penalties For Gang Enhancements In California

There are two sections in Penal Code 186.22 PC. The first, Penal Code 186.22a, criminalizes affiliation with a street gang and participation in its associated criminal activities. The second, Penal Code 186.22b, allows the judge to give the defendant an enhanced sentence for committing felonies deemed to be for the benefit of the gang.

Punishments Under Penal Code 186.22a

Participation in a gang crime under Penal Code 186.22a is a wobbler offense. This means that it can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor.

  • Misdemeanor Punishments: A misdemeanor gang crime is punishable by a minimum custodial sentence of six months and a maximum of one year in county jail.
  • Felony Punishments: If you are convicted of a felony gang crime under Penal Code 186.22a, a judge can sentence you to 16 months, two years, or three years in prison.

Felony Punishments Under Penal Code 186.22b

A felony charge carries a custodial sentence of up to three years in prison. If you are found guilty of a felony gang crime, the gang enhancement law adds a two, three, or four-year prison term in addition to the punishment of the crime itself. Thus, you could be sentenced to three years for the crime and an additional three years under the enhancement, totaling six years in prison.

Serious felony gang crime charges can add a custodial sentence enhancement of up to five years in addition to the sentence for the initial crime. Violent felony gang crime charges can add an enhancement of up to 10 years to your sentence.

If you are convicted of certain specific gang-related crimes, Penal Code 186.22b allows for enhancements of 7-15 years to life. These enhancements are applicable to:

  • Seven Years to Life: Threatening victims and/or witnesses, or extortion
  • Fifteen Years to Life: Carjacking, driveby shootings that cause injury and/or death, shooting at an occupied home or vehicle, or home invasion robbery

Riverside Gang Charges Lawyer Near You

Every individual charged with involvement in gang activities deserves due process rights as provided by the U.S. Constitution. The police have no right to place a suspected gang member on a gang list before giving them the opportunity to defend themselves.

If you are arrested on suspicion of being a member of a street gang, your first course of action should be to find a knowledgeable and experienced gang charges lawyer near you to protect your rights.

A skilled attorney will also fight to disassociate you from the street gang you may not be part of and prevent the prosecution from levying gang enhancement.

Our Process


  • Arrest


    The accused is taken into custody. Police will ask basic discovery questions like name and address to identify a person, then pivot to more specific questions related to the incident.

  • Reading Your

    Reading Your

    You have the right to remain silent to avoid disclosing evidence that could potentially be self-incriminating, as well as the right to an attorney to defend you in court.

  • Booking


    The police will take you in for booking — Police will fingerprint you and get and updated photograph for their records. After, you’ll be given a chance to contact your criminal defense lawyer.

  • Arraignment


    The arraignment is the final date for you to decide how you’re going to plea. If you plead guilty, the case is set for a sentencing date. If you plead not guilty, your attorney will prepare for trial.

  • Discovery


    In the discovery stage, you’ll get to see exactly what evidence the prosecution has against you. This is when your attorney can make additional requests for evidence if need be and strengthen your defense.

  • Plea Bargaining

    Plea Bargaining

    Accepting the plea bargain is the last chance to plead guilty before the trial. Reduced charges may be presented to quickly settle the case and avoid trial.

  • Trial


    The prosecutor presents the case to the jury. Any evidence or witness statements are shared at at this time. Afterward, it’s your lawyers turn to take the stands and share your side of the story. The jury will make a final verdict.

  • Sentencing


    At sentencing, the Judge must decide the appropriate legal penalty for the crime you were found guilty of. Decisions are based on the advised penalties for the specific charges in question.

Possible Penalties For A Criminal Conviction

Jail or Prison Time

Substantial Fines

Lengthy Probation

License Suspension

Mandatory Education

Frequently Asked Questions

What If I'm Falsely Charged With A Gang Crime In California?

Speak to an attorney as soon as possible. You may not only be facing a lengthy jail or prison sentence but due to gang enhancements, several years could be tacked onto your initial sentence.

What Is The Punishment For Gang Crimes?

Being a gang member and participating in gang-related criminal activities in California carries severe punishments. Misdemeanors charged under Penal Code 186.22a carry a sentence of up to a year in county jail with a minimum sentence of six months. Meanwhile, felonies charged under Penal Code 186.22a and Penal Code 186.22b carry a sentence of 16 months to life in prison, depending on the severity of the crime and whether any enhancements were applicable.

What Are Examples Of Gang-related Crimes?

Gang-related crimes include, but are not limited to:

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