Salt Lake Criminal Defense Attorney Utah
Call Criminal Defense Attorney in Utah
Call Utah Criminal Lawyer
Veteran Criminal Defense Attorney / Former Prosecutor
Call 801-449-1409 now for help protecting your rights.
Utah Criminal Defense Lawyer Salt Lake City

Criminal Defense Solutions Start HereSM

Contact Us

Utah Code 76-3-203.1 - Gang Enhancements

Offenses Committed In Concert with Two or More Persons

Enhanced (increased) penalties can be imposed under Utah Code 76-3-203.1 for both felony and misdemeanor convictions if a prosecutor can prove that the crime was committed in connection with gang activity or in concert with two or more persons. These enhanced penalties can be severe. For example, a 0-5 year prison term for a third degree felony can become a 1-15 year sentence. A second degree felony 1-15 year prison term can be enhanced to a potential sentence of life in prison.

If you are facing criminal charges in Utah, the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney can help give you the best chance of successfully defending your case. Based in Salt Lake City, criminal lawyer Stephen Howard has spent his career defending the rights of people charged with serious felony and misdemeanor crimes. He provides legal services to clients throughout Utah. Contact us today to arrange for a confidential consultation.

What constitutes a "criminal street gang" in Utah?

The concept of a "criminal street gang" is very broadly defined for purposes of Utah's gang enhancement statute. The definition found in Utah Code 76-9-802 does not require all of the formal organization, recognition, gang name, signs, colors, and other indicia often associated with a gang. The statute does require some identifying name, sign, or symbol. But the focus of the statute is less on formal associations or organizations, instead looking more at the actual actions and intent of any group of three or more individuals.

For a group or association to be considered a criminal street gang under the statute, a prosecutor must prove the following elements:

  • the group is currenly in operation;
  • the group has as one of its primary activities the commission of one or more predicate gang crimes (see Utah Code 76-9-802(5) for a definition of "predicate gang crimes");
  • the group has an identifying name or identifying sign or symbol, or both; and
  • the members of the group, acting individually or in concert with other members, engage in or have engaged in a pattern of criminal gang activity.

Enhanced penalties cannot be imposed simply because the defendant is determined to be a member of a recognized criminal street gang. Increased penalties under such a statute would likely be found to be an unconstitutional "status crime" enhancement. Instead, Utah's gang enhancement requires a prosecutor to show that the crime was committed either "for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with any criminal street gang" or for the purpose of "gain[ing] recognition, acceptance, membership, or increased status with a criminal street gang."

Can enhanced penalties be imposed if the crime did not involve a "gang"?

The "gang" enhancements under Utah Code 76-3-203.1 apply more broadly than just to "criminal street gangs" as defined by the Utah Code. The enhanced penalties provided by this statute also apply to crimes committed simply "in concert with" two or more other people.

In order to show that a person acted 'in concert with" two or more other people, a prosecutor must prove that the defendant was aided or encouraged in committing the crime by two other persons, and that the defendant was aware of this aid or encouragement. The prosecutor also must prove that each of the other individuals was either physically present when the crime was committed or participated as a party to the offense.

Can enhanced penalties apply if no one else is charged?

Before the enhanced penalties can be imposed, a prosecutor must prove the involvement of other individuals. But it is not necessary for the prosecutor to charge or convict these other individuals.

In some cases, police may not be able to identify or apprehend the other people involved in a gang crime. This failure does not prevent a prosecutor from seeking or stop a court from imposing the enhanced penalties for gang or "group criminal activity" so long as the other required elements are proven.

What are the increased penalties?

The enhancements under Utah Code 76-3-203.1 apply only to felony charges and to class A and class B misdemeanor charges. For each offense, the level of the offense is increased by one step. For example, a class A misdemeanor becomes a third degree felony; and a second degree felony can become a first degree felony.

If the charge would otherwise be a first degree felony, the gang enhancement adds an additional indeterminate prison term of up to five years in addition to any statutory minimum prison term for the offense. The maximum prison term may still be life in prison.

What offenses are subject to enhanced penalties for gang activity?

Not all Utah crimes are subject to enhancement for conduct which is gang-related or is committed "in concert with" two or more other individuals. But the list of offenses under Utah Code 76-3-203.1(5) is substantial, including: drug crimes; assault and related offenses; homicide; kidnapping; sex offenses; child pornography; property destruction; burglary; robbery; theft; shoplifting; fraud; witness tampering; trespass; explosives and weapons charges; prostitution; money laundering; and more.

Finding a Utah Criminal Defense Attorney in Salt Lake City

Criminal Attorney UtahBased in Salt Lake City, criminal defense attorney Stephen Howard has a track record that includes not guilty verdicts and dismissals for some of the most serious charges on the books in Utah. Each case is unique, and the advice and assistance of an experienced criminal lawyer can be critical to achieving the best results in your case.

Mr. Howard provides legal services to clients throughout Utah. Contact us today to arrange for an initial confidential consultation.

RELATED CRIMINAL CODE SECTIONS AND QUESTIONS


Best Rating
Make a Payment to Your Account
Get Help Now
** All fields are required. **
Name: Email: Phone: Describe your legal needs here:
I accept the disclaimer below.
Disclaimer: No attorney-client relationship is established by the use of this form. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be submitted through this form. By clicking 'submit' I am only requesting that I be contacted for the purpose of obtaining legal services.

This form protected by reCAPTCHA.

  • Selected Victories
  • Criminal Defense AttorneyDismissed - Charges of insurance fraud were brought when investigators found reason to believe that client's claim of injury was fraudulent. Client was seen kicking a soccer ball, and investigators concluded that the injury claim was false. By obtaining medical records and other administrative records, and by pointing out to the prosecutor that the alleged injury interferred with the client's ability to lift - not his ability to kick a ball - the prosecutor agreed to dismiss the case.
  • Drug Crimes Defense Attorney Utah Dismissed - Client facing first-degree felony drug distribution charge and potential life in prison. Charges were based on allegations that client had sold drugs to an undercover police officer, then made a full confession. Successful mitigation work resulted in negotiated offer of misdemeanor plea-in-abeyance and ultimate dismissal of case.
  • Utah 402 Reduction Attorney Felony Reduced - Client with prior felony conviction was granted a 402 reduction to the misdemeanor level over the objection of the prosecutor. Based on information provided to the court in support of the defense motion, the judge ruled in favor of the defense.
  • Utah Burglary Attorney Not Guilty - Client was charged with residential felony burglary and theft charges. Effective cross-examination of alleged victim at preliminary hearing resulted in an admission by the alleged victim that the charges were based on a false report to police, made for the purpose of getting revenge against the defendant. Case was dismissed outright.
  • Recent Posts
  • What to Do When Arrested for DUI What should I do if I am arrested for DUI? - Many DUI cases begin as minor traffic stops. But the consequences of a DUI conviction are much more serious than an ordinary traffic citation. If you are pulled over for a suspected DUI, you have specific important constitutional and statutory rights that can protect your. . . .
  • Utah Misdemeanor Attorney Salt Lake Can I handle a Utah misdemeanor from out-of-state? - Even if you do not intend to take your case to trial, a misdemeanor criminal offense in Utah can require multiple court appearances to reach a resolution. If you have been charged with a crime in Utah, but are not a Utah resident, an experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to help you resolve the case without returning to the state. . . .
Best Utah Criminal Defense Strategy

Successfully defending against criminal prosecution requires more than just an 'aggressive' defense. The best defense attorneys understand that a sophisticated defense requires a thorough understanding of a variety of nuanced legal issues, real experience in the courtroom, good negotiation skills, and much more. Fighting hard is good. Fighting smart is better....

Strategy »
Salt Lake Criminal Defense Attorney Profile Utah

Defending against a criminal prosecution in Utah is a job that has to be done right the first time. Choosing the right attorney to defend you can be the most important decision you make. Our attorneys have extensive experience handling some of the most serious felony and misdemeanor charges on the books in Utah. No matter what charges you are facing, we can help....

Experience »
Conviction Consequences - Utah Criminal Defense

In Utah, even a "minor" misdemeanor conviction carries the potential for jail time and significant fines. A felony conviction carries the potential of lengthy prison terms and the various consequences that come with being labeled as a convicted felon. Never plead guilty without first finding out....

Consequences »
Utah Criminal Attorney - Reasons to Hope

An arrest is not a conviction. If you are facing criminal prosecution in Utah, it can feel like your world is collapsing. But there are things you can do right now that can increase your chances of a good outcome. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can help you evaluate the various options available to you and help develop a strategy for success....

Reasons to Hope »
Home | Attorney Profile | Case Results | Criminal Code | FAQ | Legal Resources | Defense Strategy | Contact Us

Serving Salt Lake, Davis, Weber, Utah, Cache, Tooele, Summit, Box Elder, and Wasatch Counties, and all of Utah.

Attorney Stephen Howard practices as part of the Canyons Law Group, LLC and Stephen W. Howard, PC.

Offices in Salt Lake and Davis Counties
340 East 400 South, Suite 25, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
952 S. Main St., Suite A, Layton, UT 84041

Call now to arrange for a confidential initial consultation with an experienced and effective Utah criminal defense lawyer.

In Salt Lake City, call 801-449-1409.
In Davis County, call 801-923-4345.

Stephen W. Howard, PC

The materials in this website are intended for informational purposes only, and are not legal advice. Viewing or responding to materials in this site does not create an attorney-client relationship. Read Full Disclaimer.