In recent years, state government and law enforcement agencies, in conjunction with the Georgia Gang Investigators Association (GGIA), have vowed to crack down on gang violence. The state has given the Attorney General’s Office wider latitude to prosecute members for crimes furthering the interests of their respective gangs. Action is swift, and penalties are stiff under Governor Kemp’s “Stop and Dismantle” initiative.

Some law enforcement agencies and prosecutors, however, now think that everyone is in a gang. If you have been accused and arrested for a crime attributed to gang activity, a Carrollton gang crimes lawyer can assess the circumstances and defend you vigorously in criminal court. Contact J. Ryan Brown Law today to set up a confidential consultation with an aggressive attorney.

What is a Criminal Street Gang in Georgia?

Although most organized groups of three or more people are not gangs, any association participating in criminal activity is considered a street gang in Georgia under the Official Code of Georgia Annotated § 16-15-3. Evidence for the existence of a gang is shown by a common name or visual representation, such as tattoos, hand signs, clothing, or symbols. Common customs or activities are also considered evidence. Associating with gang members in Carrollton does not necessarily make someone a member and, prosecutors typically have to prove not only that someone is a gang member, but that some other crime was committed related to the gang itself.

Defining Criminal Gang Activity

Under O.C.G.A. § 16-15-4, some laws can lead to arrest for criminal gang activity, which the law defines in O.C.G.A 16-15-3 (1) as committing, attempting to commit, or coercing, soliciting, or intimidating others to commit specific crimes. These crimes include:

  • Racketeering
  • Rape, aggravated sexual battery, and stalking
  • Springing a child from custody or encouraging them to escape
  • Any criminal offense involving violence, including using or possessing a weapon
  • Criminal trespass or criminal property damage

Law enforcement is on record estimating that there are about 12 active gangs in Carrollton, about 30 different sets of those gangs with the most common being Bloods, Crips, Gangster Disciples, and Ghost Face gangsters. Law enforcement also says they have identified hybrid gangs such as YGG, YSN, and FAMU. Carrollton law enforcement noted that Eight Tray Gangsters are the largest active gang in Carrollton.

Notable Gang-Related Laws

Special gang-related statutes are enforced in Georgia under O.C.G.A. 16-15-4, making it unlawful for gang members to commit crimes to further the gang’s objectives. They also can be charged with enhanced penalties for committing a crime in exchange for gang membership or higher status in the gang. Being an organizer or gang supervisor who conspires with others or engages directly in criminal activities is a crime, as is recruiting others to be members or participate in criminal gang activities. It is also a crime to threaten harm or retaliation against those who snitch to the police about gang activity or testify against members.

Gang-Related Laws are Felonies

Gang-related laws are felonies that carry prison sentences of up to 20 years in the state prison system and a fine of $10,000 to $15,000 or both. If someone has further questions about the potential penalties associated with a specific gang-related crime, they should schedule a consultation with a Carrollton attorney as soon as possible.

Possible Defenses

Georgia law is broad enough that law enforcement may try to paint someone as a gang member when they are not. The most common defenses to gang charges are that 1) the defendant is not a member of the gang or that 2) any alleged conduct was not in furtherance of the gang.

Let a Carrollton Gang Crimes Attorney Defend Your Rights

At J. Ryan Brown Law, we believe everyone accused of a crime deserves to defend themselves in court. A Carrollton gang crimes lawyer at our firm can help defend you against thegang charges and offer a reasoned defense to the allegations levied against you. They can also counsel you about the best path forward, given your unique situation. Contact us today to discover your legal options.

J. Ryan Brown Law, LLC

J. Ryan Brown Law, LLC