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Learn more about enhanced sentences in California

In the state of California, anyone who willingly participates in a street gang could be sentenced to up to a year in county jail or up to three years in state prison. In the event that an individual commits a felony either at the direction of or for the benefit of a street gang, that person could be sentenced to up to four years in prison.

This sentence will run consecutive to whatever punishment is handed out after being convicted of the original felony. If the felony was a serious offense, that individual could be sentenced to as many as five additional years in prison. Violent offenders may be sentenced to as many as 10 years in prison on top of their original sentence. In the event that a crime is committed within 1,000 feet of a school while it is session, it could be considered an aggravating factor.

In most cases, a court will impose the middle term of any enhanced sentence. However, the court will often impose the maximum term in the event that there are aggravating or other factors that warrant the maximum enhanced sentence. Should the felony consist of extortion or threats to witnesses, an individual may spend up to seven additional years in prison.

Those who are charged with violent crimes may face many years in prison. Therefore, it may be worthwhile to consult with a criminal defense attorney who may be able to cast doubt on the case against an individual. For instance, it may be possible to dispute witness testimony, offer an alibi that may clear the defendant or offer experts to testify that the individual charged could not have committed the crime. This may be enough to win an acquittal or a plea deal in a case.

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