Diligently Protecting Your Rights
Street gang members are often accused of a combination of random violent and property crimes in addition to organized crime. With California’s Street Terrorism Act, passed in 1996, the state has some of the most punitive penalties in the country for gang-related offenses. An attorney experienced in these matters can defend you if you or a family member are charged with gang offenses. The attorneys at Robert F. Landheer, Attorney at Law are knowledgeable and experienced in defending these cases.
How Do Gang Offenses Differ From Any Other Criminal Case?
A street gang's criminal behavior is not quite organized crime and not quite an ordinary crime of passion. California has developed separate procedural rules to deal with street gang criminal offenses:
- Discovery -- A criminal defense lawyer can demand that the government prosecutor turn over specific items that peace officers use to track street gang activity, including Cal Gang database information and Field Interview (FI) cards.
- Statutes and cases -- Even more than other areas of law, street gang law is constantly evolving and making radical shifts. We stay current on these sudden and dramatic changes so we can better represent you.
- Pretrial motions -- In addition to the usual motions to suppress evidence, we file motions to exclude FI cards, bifurcate the street gang portion of the trial and exclude unrelated predicate offenses. Our aggressive approach has yielded successful results.
- Expert witnesses -- The government prosecutor often calls a "gang expert witness." This so-called expert is usually just a peace officer who has worked with street gangs in the past. If not properly challenged and excluded, this witness can do major damage to your case.
Street Gang Laws
Gang affiliation is an issue in two unique enforcement areas. The gang enhancement allows the government prosecutor to seek a longer prison sentence for a juvenile crime or other offense if it is proved that you were an active participant in a street gang or that you were acting for the benefit of a street gang. The gang injunction is essentially a very broad restraining order preventing persons from acting in certain ways, wearing certain clothes, visiting certain locations or doing anything that the government prosecutor considers gang related.