By James ” Hollywood ” Macecari – Author of New Age of Biking & Brotherhood
What is a Gang Enhancement?
A gang enhancement is an additional punishment to an initial felony imposed on a person who commits the initial crime for the benefit of or in association with a criminal street gang. Gang Enhancement is a punishment that compounds on top of whatever punishment is imposed for the initial crime.William Kroger Attorney at Law
Imagine going into your favorite motorcycle club clubhouse to show them support, this could be attending a party or just going to chill. Across the street you have the local PD sitting out in their squad cars writing down license plate numbers. Two weeks later you get pulled over for speeding and you notice the caution the cop is using to approach. He comes up and tells you to get off your bike or car, whatever you’re driving at the time and says, “I need to see your tattoos and take a couple of pictures.”
You’re confused as to why the cop is doing this for a simple speeding violation. Turns out, two weeks earlier that cop sitting in the squad car taking down license plates put you on the gang list. You’re confused by what’s happening, especially knowing you’re not apart of any gang. Well, welcome to a country which allows a law enforcement officer to make the judgement on his/her own if you’re a gang member.
LEO, not courts have this power
I’ve often asked, “Since when does a sole officer have the power to take away your 4th amendment rights unilaterally?” The 4th amendment allows for due process, something that isn’t afforded when you’re put on a gang list.
Leo use the logic, “they must be a member of the gang if we see them hanging out with them.” Leo can also add you to the list based on your attire and tattoos. Sounds like a very low bar to me for being included on this list and most of the time you don’t even know you’ve been added.
As quoted above, a gang enhancement charge can be liberally applied to misdemeanors and felony charges. So, you get into a scrap at the local watering hole and the cops are called. When the cops get there they hall you down to the station. You’re being charged with a simple battery , that’s until they see you’re in the gang database. Instead of just charging you with simple battery, you’re now getting a gang enhancement charge, which will add significant time.
This is what many bikers are facing around the country at this very moment. There is a need for the MRO’s to get involved in criminal justice reform. Just because the subject is, “too controversial,” doesn’t mean you don’t get in the fight.
On this episode of Motorcycle Madhouse, I go over gang enhancement laws and what they mean to you. This is an issue that can have big implications on many bikers, especially ones who hang out with motorcycle clubs. After watching the episode, leave your thoughts in the comment section.