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Is it Illegal to Be in a Gang in North Carolina? 

 Posted on December 28, 2022 in Criminal Defense

smithfield crimnal defense lawyerWhile North Carolina may not have a national reputation for being a hotspot of gang violence, large numbers of gangs are active in the state - well over a thousand by some counts. In 2018 and then again in 2020, members of the United Blood Nation were put into prison for crimes such as drug trafficking, illegal firearm possession, wire fraud, and committing other crimes using weapons. 

These are serious crimes with serious consequences, but not all gangs or groups are involved in criminal activity, and it may only be natural for a young person who is curious about a gang, or the parents of a young person who has shown interest in gang membership, to wonder if simply being in a gang is against the law in North Carolina. 

Is Being a Gang Member Illegal? 

In North Carolina, simply being a gang member is not against the law. However, whether someone gets in trouble for conduct committed as part of a gang is a much more important question. North Carolina has laws in place that are specially designed to punish gang activity. 

Even seemingly minor acts committed as a gang member can be prosecuted with devastating consequences for the accused’s future. For example, when misdemeanors are committed as part of a gang, they are charged as one class higher than the original crime allows. Class C through I felonious criminal activity committed as part of gang membership is enhanced by one class as well, allowing for much more severe punishments like longer prison time. And doing these things as a leader of a gang subjects the accused to a two-class enhancement. 

While committing criminal acts can get you charged with criminal gang activity enhancement, so can trying to get someone else to commit a crime. This means that recruiting or trying to recruit someone else into your gang using criminal acts can get you in serious trouble - even if you never commit the crime yourself. North Carolina also heavily punishes people trying to encourage minors to participate in gang behavior, intimidating someone into staying in a gang, or punishing someone for leaving a gang. 

If you or your child are being recruited to join a gang, your best bet is to stay far away. Once you are in, getting out of a gang is very difficult. Gang recruitment is often involved with committing criminal acts, and you or your child could be in trouble before even being inducted into the gang. If you are being charged with criminal activity of any kind, especially involving gang membership, you will need a skilled criminal defense lawyer by your side.

Contact a Smithfield, NC Criminal Defense Lawyer

Criminal gang activity is prosecuted aggressively in North Carolina. Get an experienced Johnston County criminal defense attorney on your side by calling Vasquez Law Firm, PLLC at 1-844-YO-PELEO today and scheduling a free initial consultation. 





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