Los Angeles Criminal Law Blog

Gang-Related Crimes in Los Angeles

Posted on: March 3, 2009 at 12:16 p.m.

In the city of Los Angeles, gangs and gang-related crimes have become a harsh reality. Law enforcement target gangs more and more everyday, which often leads to innocent people being caught up in a widely thrown legal net. Having a qualified and experienced Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer by your side during a trial can make all the difference. A Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer will also be a major asset during criminal investigations, police questioning and pre-trial proceedings.

Historically, gang-related violence in Los Angeles has a strong tie to economics: as the economy goes down, gang violence tends to go up. If historical trends hold true, then Los Angeles may see a serious surge of gang violence in the next few years. Most of what we hear in the media about gang violence deals with homicides. A well-publicized story in March of 2008 involved an African American high school football player being shot and killed, allegedly by a Latino gang member.

Gang-related criminal charges are very often more than just homicide and can include drug possession, distribution or trafficking, weapons possession, money laundering, racketeering, smuggling, intimidation, robbery, kidnapping, rape and prostitution. None of these are charges to be taken lightly, and in a city such as Los Angeles, which has a long history of fighting gang-related crime, can be punished quite severely. Los Angeles in particular has several times issued gang injunctions, in essence suing gang members.

In a gang injunction, after evidence is gathered from local law enforcement officials and community members, a judge signs the order, which amounts to a restraining order, restricting the activities of every person named in the injunction. In most cases, the injunction stipulates that the people named may not associate with each other, wear certain types of clothing, make certain hand gestures, possess weapons, vandalize property or do drugs within a specified geographic area. Most of these activities are already illegal, so violating the injunction would constitute contempt of court and would add to the punishment issued from a conviction of another crime.

While the American Civil Liberties Union has argued many times against the unconstitutionality of gang injunctions, other cities in California and across the nation have adopted gang injunctions as a way to curtail gang activity. In Los Angeles alone, there are currently 33 gang injunctions against 50 gangs, covering roughly 11,000 people. Gang-related crime is prosecuted very heavily in Los Angeles, with punishments often including several years in prison.

If you are being charged with a gang-related crime, finding a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney with experience in gang crimes is the most important thing you can do for yourself.

Tagged as: gang allegations

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