What Is the Legal Definition of a ''Street Gang'' In California ?
The street gang enhancement under consideration imposes certain penal consequences when crimes are committed "for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with any criminal street gang." ( 186.22, subd. (b)(1).)
A "criminal street gang" is any ongoing association of three or more persons that shares a common name or common identifying sign or symbol; has as one of its "primary activities" the commission of specified criminal offenses; and engages through its members in a "pattern of criminal gang activity." ( 186.22, subd. (f).)
A "pattern of criminal gang activity" means the commission of, attempted commission of, or solicitation of, sustained juvenile petition for, or conviction of two or more enumerated offenses within a specified time on separate occasions by two or more persons. ( 186.22, subd. (e).)
The existence of a criminal street gang is unquestionably an element of the street gang enhancement. (See People v. Gardeley (1996) 14 Cal. 4th 605, 619-620 [59 Cal. Rptr. 2d 356, 927 P.2d 713]; In re Jose T. (1991) 230 Cal. App. 3d 1455, 1462 [282 Cal. Rptr. 75].)