Gang Charges

Gang Charges

The State of Georgia has the "Georgia Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act." The lawmakers of our state decided that gangs had become a problem in and decided to try and eliminate them. They have expressed that they want to do this by prosecuting alleged gang members, imposing extremely lengthy sentences, and taking alleged gang member's property. 

What Means What

When dealing with gang charges there are certain terms the state lawmaker have decided to use. To fully understand what is going, and what you may be charged with, it is important to understand what some of the key terms and phrases mean to law enforcement and prosecutors alike. 

Criminal Street Gang

“Criminal street gang” means any organization, association, or group of three or more persons associated in fact, whether formal or informal, which engages in criminal gang activity. The existence of such organization, association, or group of individuals associated in fact may be established by evidence of a common name or common identifying signs, symbols, tattoos, graffiti, or attire or other distinguishing characteristics, including, but not limited to, common activities, customs, or behaviors. Such term shall not include three or more persons, associated in fact, whether formal or informal, who are not engaged in criminal gang activity.

Criminal Gang Activity

“Criminal gang activity” means the commission, attempted commission, conspiracy to commit, or solicitation, coercion, or intimidation of another person to commit any of the following offenses on or after July 1, 2006: rackateering activity, stalking; rape, aggravated sodomy, statutory rape, aggravated sexual battery, escape and other confinement related offenses, offenses relating to dangerous instrumentalities and practices, various offenses related to the security of jails and prisons, aiding or encouraging a child to escape from custody, criminal trespass or criminal damage to property resulting from any sort of "tagging" or graffitti, and any offense that involves the possession or use of a weapon. 
 
 
 

So What Does a Gang Charge Really Mean?

There are almost ten different ways that the State and It's prosecutors can charge you with violating the State's gang laws. O.C.G.A. § 16-5-4 sets out the unlawful behavior that is prohibited by law. 

  1. It is illegal for any person employed by or associated with a criminal street gang to conduct or participate in criminal gang activity. 
  2. It is illegal for any person to acquire or maintain through criminal gang activity or proceeds derived therefrom any interest in or control of any real or personal property of any nature, including money.
  3. It shall be unlawful for any person who occupies a position of organizer, supervisory position, or any other position of management or leadership with regard to a criminal street gang to engage in, directly or indirectly, or conspire to engage in criminal gang activity.
  4. It shall be unlawful for any person to cause, encourage, solicit, recruit, or coerce another to become a member or associate of a criminal street gang, to participate in a criminal street gang, or to conduct or participate in criminal gang activity.
  5. It shall be unlawful for any person to communicate, directly or indirectly, with another any threat of injury or damage to the person or property of the other person or of any associate or relative of the other person with the intent to deter such person from assisting a member or associate of a criminal street gang to withdraw from such criminal street gang.
  6. It shall be unlawful for any person to communicate, directly or indirectly, with another any threat of injury or damage to the person or property of the other person or of any associate or relative of the other person with the intent to punish or retaliate against such person for having withdrawn from a criminal street gang.
  7. It shall be unlawful for any person to communicate, directly or indirectly, with another any threat of injury or damage to the person or property of the other person or of any associate or relative of the other person with the intent to punish or retaliate against such person for refusing to or encouraging another to refuse to become or obtain the status of a member or associate of a criminal street gang.
  8. It shall be unlawful for any person to communicate, directly or indirectly, with another any threat of injury or damage to the person or property of the other person or of any associate or relative of the other person with the intent to punish or retaliate against such person for providing statements or testimony against criminal street gangs or any criminal street gang member or associate.
  9. It shall be unlawful for any person to communicate, directly or indirectly, with another any threat of injury or damage to the person or property of the other person or of any associate or relative of the other person with the intent to intimidate, deter, or prevent such person from communicating to any law enforcement or corrections officer, prosecuting attorney, or judge information relating to criminal street gangs, criminal street gang members or associates, or criminal gang activity.

Any alleged violation of this law is serious and will often be accompanied by other charges in what is usually a very lengthy indictment. Many times gang charges are alleged in multi-defendant indictments where multiple alleged gang-members will all be included. Prosecutors in LaGrange, Newnan, and Carrollton have been known to stack charges against defendants resulting in indictments full of dozens of charges. 

How Much Time Can I Get for Gang Charges?

The minimum sentence can vary depending on which particular violation of the gang law you are alleged with violating. The maximum, however, is twenty years in prison. Additionally, if you are convicted of violating the gang laws, then you will be prohibited from having any contact with any gang member or gang associate. If the crime you are convicted of involves a victim, then you would also be prohibited from having any contact with that victim or their family. 

The consequences of a violation of the gang statute can be years of incarceration followed by a near lifetime on probation under the watchful eye of probation officers and prosecutors. Be careful and make sure you are fully prepared to fight against these charges. Contact us today and Don't Fight Alone. 

Free Consultation

Ryan Brown is ready to begin defending you and your rights today. The best defense is one that begins as early as possible. Prosecutors don't take days off and neither should you. Let us get started. Call today for a free consultation.

Serving the Following Areas

Ryan Brown represents clients throughout the state. He primarily serves the following counties: Coweta, Carroll, Heard, Meriwether, Troup, Douglas, Haralson, Cobb, Paulding, Floyd, Fayette, Henry, Macon-Bibb, Fulton, Muscogee, Monroe, Polk, Spalding, Pike, Lamar, Upson, Butts, Walton, Newton, and Rockdale.

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This website if for general informational purposes only and is not to be considered legal advice. Each situation, case, and legal matter is unique and requires custom legal advice. Nothing communicated on this website or through this website constitutes an attorney-client privilege.

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