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This article will deal with the crime of participation in a criminal street gang.  This is completely different from the sentencing enhancemnt.  If you are charged with a gang crime you need experienced representation.  Many times people hire Attorneys that do not have experience in  the criminal street gang laws.  The Lawyer has never even tried a gang case.   This is not acceptable.  The gang statutes are very tricky and require experience. 

As someoene that has tried several gang homicide and attempted homicide cases, and handled hundreds of Gang cases, I have the knowlege to properly represent you. 

If after reading this article you have any more questions don’t hesitate to call 5594411418.


There are actually two parts to Penal Code section 186.22 A .  The first part deals with the crime of “engaging in gang activiity” this is actively and knowingly participating in a criminal street gang.

In order to convict you of this offense the prosecutor must prove the following three facts.  (otherwise known as elements)

1. That you actively participated in a gang

2. Knowing that its memebers “engage in a pattern of criminal activity”

3. that you willfully “promoted furthered or assisted in felonious conduct by gang members.


The offense of active and knowing participation in a criminal street gang punishes act of being involved with a gang irrespective of any other crime.  This law targets individuals who has the intent and objective to  further promote, or assist a gang in its unlawful conduct. 

Furthermore, the law not only applies not only to the person that personally and actively committs the crime but also to anyone who aids and abbets that individual.


Many times in Gang cases the “Active” participation element along with the intent element are where the most action or litigation occurs.

Many times a person who has either aged out of a gang or no longer “actively participates” in a gang are charged with this crime.

This is even though the person has  not had contact with Law Enforcement for several years, was not wearing gang attire when arrested, and has not been arrested for several years he will be arrested for actively partiicipating.

There is no computer program that keeps track of every time a gang member joins or leaves a gang.

Many members simply age out of the gang or its gang activities; however they may still have some friends with possible ties to a gang

Some gang members simply hang out with other gang members and are not active members.

They may not have committed any crimes or been arrested with other gang members. Gang Membership is a fluid concept many gang are not higly structured.  They may have only a handful or more hardcore members while most members are not as involved.

For a person to be concicted of this gang crime they must be an active member.   Therefore, they cannot be the person that simply hangs out with other gang members or parties at the same parties with them or even hang out with the other gang members.  They must actively participate.

This could be how many times they have been stopped with other gang members, do they were the exact colors of that are associated with the gang, do they admit to being actively involved.  Have other members debriefed and explained how involved they were.  These are all things to take into consideration.

Also how long has it been since all the above things happened? in other words did all the things discussed above happen ten years ago? if so then as stated aobve the person may have already aged out of the gang and not be actively involved anymore.

As you can see these are complex issues and you need an experienced Attorney that has tried these type of gang cases if you have questions give us a call 559 441 1418.

Gerald Schwab, Jr.


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Law Office of Gerald Schwab, Jr.
Fresno Criminal Defense Attorney
5588 N Palm Ave,
Fresno, CA 93704 View Map
Phone: 559.441.1418