Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Understanding Gang Enhancement Laws

If you are convicted of a felony offense in Nevada, you will face additional penalties if the prosecution can prove that you committed the crime as part of a criminal gang. 

Under NRS 193.168, a “gang enhancement” can be imposed if the defendant knowingly commits a felony in affiliation with, at the direction of, or for the benefit of a criminal gang, specifically intending to further, assist, or promote the gang’s activities.

Proving Gang Involvement

The law defines a criminal gang as any formally or informally organized group of people that is constructed so that the organization will continue to operate if members leave the organization or new members join the organization. Furthermore, this organization must:
  • Use a common name or identifying symbol;
  • Exhibit particular conduct, status, and customs specific to it; and
  • Engage in felonious criminal activity as one of its common activities.
At the hearing to determine if the defendant should face a gang enhancement, the prosecution must present evidence that the defendant exhibited particular customs and conduct indicative of involvement in a criminal gang. Such evidence can include:
  • The defendant follows social customs and behaves like a gang member
  • The defendant uses terminology specific to criminal gangs
  • The defendant shows animosity toward certain people due to specific rivalries between gangs
  • The defendant follows codes of conduct, both routine and criminal, of a particular gang
  • The defendant knows common practices and the operations of a certain gang and its members
  • The defendant committed crimes that are specific to a particular gang or gangs in general

Additional Sentencing for Gang Enhancement

If a gang enhancement is imposed, the defendant will be sentenced to a term of imprisonment in addition to the penalties sentenced for the original crime. Gang enhancement sentencing carries a minimum term of 1 year in state prison and a maximum term of 20 years in state prison. When determining the length of the sentence, the judge will consider such factors as:
  • The defendant’s criminal history
  • The specific facts and circumstances of the case
  • The crime’s impact upon the victim(s)
  • Any mitigating factors
  • Any other information that is relevant to the case
If you are facing a gang enhancement for crimes committed in the Las Vegas area, it is very important to retain a criminal defense lawyer who can aggressively fight your charges. Our attorneys are dedicated to protecting our clients’ rights and obtaining the best possible results no matter the charges and penalties they face. To learn more about the benefits of hiring De Castroverde Law Group for your case, visit our website today!