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Gang-Related Crimes

Arizona Revised Statute § 13-105.8 defines a criminal street gang as “an ongoing formal or informal association of persons in which members or associates individually or collectively engage in the commission, attempted commission, facilitation or solicitation of any felony act and that has at least one individual who is a criminal street gang member.” A criminal street gang member is defined under Arizona Revised Statute § 13-105.9 as an individual to whom at least two of the following seven criteria that indicate criminal street gang membership apply:

  • Self-proclamation;
  • Witness testimony or official statement;
  • Written or electronic correspondence;
  • Paraphernalia or photographs;
  • Tattoos;
  • Clothing or colors; or
  • Any other indicia of street gang membership.

State law in Arizona not only makes it crime to participate in or assist street gangs in criminal activity, but gang members can also face enhanced sentences if convicted of one of many other crimes. Prosecutors know that judges and juries view gangs as being a threat to public safety and aggressively pursue maximum punishments for alleged offenders accused of gang-related activity.

Lawyer for Gang-Related Crimes Defense in Tempe, AZ

Were you arrested in Maricopa County for an alleged gang-related criminal offense? You should not say anything to authorities until you have contacted the Law Office of James E. Novak.

Tempe criminal defense attorney James E. Novak is former Maricopa County prosecutor who defends clients in Chandler, Mesa, Phoenix, Gilbert, and Scottsdale. He can provide a complete evaluation of you case when you call (480) 413-1499 to schedule a free, confidential consultation.


Overview of Gang-Related Crimes in Maricopa County


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Gang-Related Criminal Offenses in Arizona

Under Arizona Revised Statute § 13-2321, a person participates in a criminal street gang by doing any of the following:

  • Intentionally organizing, managing, directing, supervising or financing a criminal street gang with the intent to promote or further the criminal objectives of the criminal street gang;
  • Knowingly inciting or inducing others to engage in violence or intimidation to promote or further the criminal objectives of a criminal street gang;
  • Furnishing advice or direction in the conduct, financing or management of a criminal street gang's affairs with the intent to promote or further the criminal objectives of a criminal street gang; or
  • Intentionally promoting or furthering the criminal objectives of a criminal street gang by inducing or committing any act or omission by a public servant in violation of the public servant's official duty.

An alleged offender assists a criminal street gang by committing any felony offense, whether completed or preparatory for the benefit of, at the direction of or in association with any criminal street gang. State law establishes that any use of a common name or common identifying sign or symbol can be admissible and may be considered in proving the existence of a criminal street gang or membership in a criminal street gang.

Participating in a criminal street gang is a class 2 felony punishable by a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison or 12.5 years in prison if there are two or more aggravating factors. Assisting a criminal street gang is a class 3 felony punishable by a maximum sentence of seven years in prison or 8.75 years in prison if there are two or more aggravating factors.


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Gang-Related Enhanced Penalties in Tempe

Arizona Revised Statute § 13-714 establishes that any person who is convicted of committing any felony offense with the intent to promote, further, or assist any criminal conduct by a criminal street gang is ineligible for suspension of sentence, probation, pardon, or release from confinement on any basis except as authorized by subsection A or B of Arizona Revised Statute § 31-233 until the sentence imposed by the court has been served, the person is eligible for release, or the sentence is commuted.

In such cases, the presumptive, minimum, and maximum sentence for the offense are increased by three years if the offense is a class 4, 5, or 6 felony. If the offense is a class 2 or 3 felony, the sentences will be increased by five years.

Some of the specific crimes in which gang-related activity can also impact sentencing include:

  • Offenses committed in school safety zone, Arizona Revised Statute § 13-709 — Whereas felony offenses committed in school safety zones would result in sentences that are one year longer than the minimum, maximum, and presumptive sentences for violations outside school safety zones, alleged offenders who are criminal street gang members can receive sentences that are up to five years longer than the minimum, maximum, and presumptive sentences;
  • Shoplifting, Arizona Revised Statute § 13-1805 — Whereas shoplifting property with a value of less than $2,000 would typically be a class 1 misdemeanor or class 6 felony, shoplifting property to promote, further, or assist any criminal street gang or criminal syndicate becomes a class 5 felony;
  • Obstructing criminal investigations or prosecutions, Arizona Revised Statute § 13-2409 — Whereas an obstruction of justice offense would typically be a class 5 felony, such crimes become a class 3 felony if the alleged offender commits the offense with the intent to promote, further, or assist a criminal street gang;
  • Hindering prosecution in the first degree, Arizona Revised Statute § 13-2409 — Whereas rendering assistance to another person with the intent to hinder the apprehension, prosecution, conviction, or punishment of that other person would be a class 5 felony, such crimes become a class 3 felony if the alleged offender commits the offense with the intent to promote, further, or assist a criminal street gang; and
  • Threatening or intimidating, Arizona Revised Statute § 13-1202 — Class 1 misdemeanor threatening or intimidating offenses become class 6 felony offenses if the alleged offender is a criminal street gang member, and an alleged offender who threatens or intimidates by word or conduct to cause physical injury to another person or damage to the property of another in order to promote, further or assist in the interests of or to cause, induce or so.icit another person to participate in a criminal street gang can be charged with a class 3 felony;

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Arizona Gang-Related Crime Arrest Resources

Gang & Illegal Immigration Enforcement | Arizona Department of Public Safety — The Gang and Immigration Intelligence Team Enforcement Mission (GIITEM) is a statewide multi-agency task force consisting of five districts that provide gang and illegal immigration enforcement and intelligence services. On this website, you can learn more about GIITEM’s mission, intelligence efforts, and organizational structure. You can also download a Neighborhood Gang Prevention & Awareness Brochure.

Arizona v. Johnson, 555 U.S. 323 (2009) — On January 26, 2009, the United States Supreme Court unanimously decided to reverse the Arizona Court of Appeals decision to reverse the conviction of a man charged with unlawful possession of a weapon as a prohibited possessor and possession of marijuana. Lemon Montrea Johnson was stopped by police because his vehicle registration but a subsequent search of his person by the officers revealed a handgun and a small amount of marijuana. The trial court denied his motion to suppress evidence he claimed was obtained through an unlawful search, and the Court of Appeals reversed his conviction after concluding that the investigation into his gang affiliation was unrelated to the traffic stop. The Supreme Court, however, wrote:

Nothing occurred in this case that would have conveyed to Johnson that, prior to the frisk, the traffic stop had ended or that he was otherwise free “to depart without police permission.” Brendlin, 551 U. S., at 257. [Officer] Trevizo was not required by the Fourth Amendment to give Johnson an opportunity to depart without first ensuring that, in so doing, she was not permitting a dangerous person to get behind her.

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[[$firm]] | Tempe Gang-Related Crimes Lawyer

If you were arrested for any kind of alleged gang-related offense in Maricopa County, it will be in your best interest to seek legal representation as soon as possible. The Law Office of James E. Novak aggressively defends clients accused of all sorts of criminal offenses in the greater Tempe area, including Mesa, Phoenix, Gilbert, Chandler, and Scottsdale.

James E. Novak is a criminal defense attorney in Tempe who has experience handling these types of cases on both sides of the aisle as a former prosecutor in Maricopa County. Call (480) 413-1499 or complete an online contact form today to receive a free consultation that will allow our lawyer to review your case and answer all of your legal questions.


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