Gang crimes in Southern California are prosecuted by special units within the District Attorney’s Office. Being a gang member is NOT a crime but committing a crime for of the benefit of a gang IS a crime and can be an enhancement of the underlying crime, which means it increases the penalties and punishments.
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Former Deputy DA • Certified Criminal Law Specialist
Gang crimes require special knowledge on the part of the defense attorney.
In cases where involvement in a gang is alleged, the prosecutor ALWAYS brings in experts to testify that the defendant is part of the gang, carried out the crime for the benefit of the gang and deserves the increased punishment of a gang member. This testimony would normally be extremely prejudicial to the defendant and would therefore not be allowed in court. However, because a “so called gang expert” is testifying, he is allowed to comment on the gang mentality, culture, history, and motivations. He is also allowed to explain the meaning of certain gang activities and terms such as “payback”, and “hit up” that might not be familiar to the jury.
Because of that, if your lawyer isn’t just as well versed in the gang culture as the expert, he will be completely unable to cross examine the expert in court. Mr. Loewenstein has been defending gang cases for years, including many cases of homicide involving gang members. Not only does Mr. Loewenstein understand the gang culture, but he understands the underlying crimes that are charged. As a Certified Specialist in Criminal Law, he has proven himself through testing, experience and peer review to be an expert in this field.
Many times a young man who lives in a neighborhood where gangs are prevalent is accused of being a gang member just because he associates with friends who are gang members. Because someone is hanging out with other young people who have been labeled as a gang member he or she can also be given the gangster label. It’s unfair and misleading but it happens to many young people. For example, if someone is killed and you attend the funeral you can be labeled as a gang member or associate. Later, when you are accused of a crime, law enforcement will say because you attended the funeral you too are a gang member or associate and whatever you are accused of was for the benefit of the gang. It doesn’t make sense but it is what law enforcement does when they bunch innocent people together with known gang members and give everyone the same unfair treatment. Don’t let this happen to you or your loved ones. Fight back with an experienced and knowledgeable defense lawyer on your side.
You would think that any lawyer who took on a gang case was up to the task but that simply isn’t true. It is crucial to understand the enhancements involved in the gang allegations as well as the meaning of being in a gang. Don’t trust the most important decision of your life, your choice of lawyer who stands between you and loss of freedom, to just anyone. Call the Law Offices of Rudolph E. Loewenstein today for a free consultation if you have been accused of a gang crime.