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Detroit Legal Blog

Common Crimes Associated With Gangs in Detroit

Feb 24, 2021, by Maurice Davis in Gang
Detroit street feature photo

Has someone accused you of committing a gang-related crime? Then it’s time to call a Detroit criminal defense lawyer. When a crime is associated with a local gang, it gets enhanced penalties. If the court determines you’re in a gang and committed a crime as part of it, you can face years or decades in prison.

Now isn’t the time to wonder what to do; it’s time to act. Talk with Davis Law Group about how to fight these charges. Give us a call or use our online form. Initial consultations are free and confidential.

What’s a Gang?

You might instinctively know what a gang is. But in criminal court, Michigan’s definition is what matters. If you want to prove you aren’t a gang member, you have to base your defense on this definition – not a common understanding of gangs.

A gang is an association of five people or more. The group can be identified by:

  • A shared sign, symbol, protocol, geographical area, or other expressions of membership
  • An established leadership or command structure
  • Criteria for membership

The law explicitly excludes nonprofit organizations. This is an important distinction now that nonprofit groups like Black Lives Matter are more visible than ever before.

Why Does It Matter?

There are additional penalties for people who commit crimes as part of a gang. For example, the sentence you face for committing felony assault as a gang member is worse than if you weren’t part of a gang. Gang membership alone is enough to make your sentence a lot worse.

If you commit any felony related to a gang, you face an extra 20 years in prison. To be clear: That’s in addition to the sentence you get for the underlying crime. You might face up to 10 or 15 years for the assault charge. If you receive the maximum penalties, you could be in prison for 30 years or more.

Common Crimes Associated With Detroit Gangs

  • Drug Crimes: Gangs are associated with manufacturing, trafficking, distributing, and selling illegal drugs.
  • Assault and Battery: Gangs are commonly associated with threats of violence and violent behavior. Gangs often require violence for someone to become a member.
  • Murder and Manslaughter: Gang violence often results in intentional and unintentional deaths, which can be charged as manslaughter or murder.
  • Robbery and Burglary: Gangs have been associated with stealing from individuals and homes.
  • Weapons Offenses: Gang members often carry illegally obtained guns. Some gangs illegally purchase and sell firearms, ammunition, and other weapons.
  • Money Laundering: Gangs are often associated with money laundering after profiting from other illegal activities.

Most of these crimes can be charged as felonies, and you can be sure the prosecutor will reach for the highest charge possible. Due to the seriousness of a felony and enhanced penalties, you must hire a Detroit gang violence lawyer.

Federal Charges

When you’re accused of crimes related to gang activity, you have to consider federal charges. Many drug and firearm crimes are charged at the federal level.

You can also face Racketeer Influence Corrupt Organization charges. RICO laws came about because of mafia activity in the 1960s. This law is how prosecutors go after higher-ranking criminal organizations, even though lower members commit the crimes. For several years now, federal prosecutors have used RICO to go after state and locally based gangs.

The last thing you want is to face federal court. Federal crimes are known for their harsh penalties. Drug crimes have significant mandatory minimums. Work with a Detroit gang violence lawyer as soon as possible in the hopes of avoiding federal charges. At the very least, you prepare to defend yourself in federal court from the beginning.

Call a Detroit Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

If you’re accused of being in a gang and committing a crime, don’t rely on an overworked public defender. Now’s the time to hire a skilled defense attorney familiar with gang-related crimes.

Maurice Davis is a tenacious criminal defense attorney who has built his criminal defense practice in his hometown. He a community member and won’t treat you like just another case. He cares about defending you and protecting your future.

Give Davis Law Group a call at (313) 818-3238 to set up your free, confidential consultation.