PROTECTING THE RIGHTS OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA RESIDENTS FACING CRIMINAL CHARGES
Karren Kenney is a criminal defense attorney who is committed to representing residents of Orange County and the greater Los Angeles area charged with serious offenses, including those involving organized gangs. She began her career with the Office of the Public Defender, where she gained significant trial experience and received the award of Public Defender of the Year. Since starting her own private practice, Ms. Kenney has honed her courtroom skills even further. Over the last two decades, she has tried over 60 cases and has negotiated countless favorable outcomes for her clients. Ms. Kenney takes pride in advocating for her clients’ rights and can provide the aggressive representation that you need.
VIOLATING GANG CRIME LAWS CAN HAVE SERIOUS CONSEQUENCES
To combat the issue of gang violence, the state of California has enacted laws that strictly punish certain criminal activities. Any person who participates in a street gang, knowing that its members have engaged in a pattern of criminal activity, and who also assists or promotes further felonious conduct may be found guilty of either a misdemeanor or a felony.
In addition to these gang offenses, if a person is found to have committed a felony for the benefit of a criminal gang, with the intent to promote its conduct, that person will receive serious enhancements to his or her penalties for the original crime. This additional penalty can range from two to 10 years of imprisonment added to a sentence for violent offenses, such as murder or robbery.
Participating in gang activity or committing a crime associated with a gang can result in penalties ranging from one year in a county jail to a felony sentence of up to three years in state prison. Other circumstances may also affect the severity of the penalty. For example, committing an underlying felony at or near a school can lead to a longer sentence.
The gang crimes laws can also affect parole eligibility. If an underlying felony is punishable by life imprisonment, a conviction under these statutes prohibits parole until a minimum of 15 years has been served.
In a case involving a gang crime, the prosecution must prove several things. First, it must show that a felony was committed for the benefit of or at the direction of a criminal street gang. Once that is proven, the prosecution then needs to establish that the offense was committed for the purpose of promoting or assisting gang conduct. If the state fails to do so, there can be no conviction for a criminal street gang enhancement.
Recent legal developments have provided some defenses for individuals who act alone. Specifically, a single person cannot be found guilty of participating in a gang activity if there was no criminal action that involved other gang members. However, California courts have ruled that a person may still have his or her felony sentence enhanced under the gang laws, even if he or she was acting alone, as long as the offense was gang-related and committed to assist or promote a gang. Because of these complicated legal distinctions, it is important to choose an attorney who understands the law and has experience defending gang-related crimes.
CONSULT AN AGGRESSIVE DEFENSE ATTORNEY TO FIGHT A CRIMINAL PROSECUTION
If you or someone you love has been charged with a gang offense in Orange County or elsewhere in Southern California, you need dedicated legal representation. Felony defense lawyer Karren Kenney has the experience and skill to identify strategies useful to your case and will seek ways of getting your charges reduced or dropped. Recently, Ms. Kenney obtained a not-guilty verdict for a client who was charged with a gang-related murder, among other offenses. The Kenney Legal Defense Corporation is located in Costa Mesa and serves clients throughout the surrounding areas, including Huntington Beach, Irvine, Santa Ana, and Los Angeles. Call (855) 505-5588 or contact us online for a free initial consultation.