Utah Gang Crimes Under Code 76-9-803 Charges

Utah is not a state many people associate with gang activity or organized crime. However, Utahans are frequently arrested for suspected involvement in gang-related crimes, particularly in major cities like Salt Lake City, West Valley City, Provo, Orem, Sandy, and Ogden. A gang assessment report to the Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice stated that “gang members tended to be disproportionately Hispanic,” which unfortunately means that innocent Hispanic residents of Utah are sometimes targeted for discriminatory racial profiling.

If you or one of your family members was accused of being in a gang, or of being involved with gang-related activities, you need to make sure that your Constitutional rights will be vigorously protected by a skilled and aggressive criminal defense attorney. Utah gang crime defense lawyer Darwin Overson has over 16 years of experience working on thousands of cases ranging from minor misdemeanors to the most serious of felonies, and may be able to have your charges reduced, or even have your case dismissed. For a free legal consultation call Overson & Bugden today at (801) 758-2287.

What is the Maximum Jail Sentence for Recruiting Someone into a Gang?

There are two types of crimes in Utah:

  • Felonies
  • Misdemeanors

Felonies and misdemeanors are each divided into three subcategories:

  • First Degree Felonies
  • Second Degree Felonies
  • Third Degree Felonies
  • Class A Misdemeanors
  • Class B Misdemeanors
  • Class C Misdemeanors

It’s important to know how your charges are categorized, because it determines, to a large extent, the jail or prison sentence you may receive if convicted. For example, the maximum sentence for a Class B misdemeanor is six months in jail, though the judge may order less jail time based on what he or she determines to be appropriate in that particular case. There is also a maximum fine of $1,000 for a Class B misdemeanor.

Under Utah Code § 76-9-803(1), the following acts are Class B misdemeanors:

  • Recruiting, enticing, or intimidating a minor, meaning a person under age 18, into joining a gang. It does not matter whether the minor actually decides to join the gang.
  • Conspiring to recruit, entice, or intimidate a minor into joining a gang.
  • Using intimidation as a way to stop, or attempt to stop, a minor from leaving a gang.

Under Utah Code § 76-9-803(2), the following acts are Class A misdemeanors, which are more serious:

  • Recruiting, enticing, or intimidating the same minor into joining a gang more than one time within a 180-day span (just under six months).
  • Using intimidation or other means to get a minor to commit, or try to commit, any misdemeanor.

The maximum sentence for a Class A misdemeanor is one year in jail. The maximum fine is $2,500. The defendant may also receive other penalties, such as probation.

Importantly, Utah Code § 76-9-803(3) notes that “Prosecution for any offense under this section does not prohibit prosecution for any other criminal offense.” In other words, there is nothing stopping the prosecutor from charging you with other gang crimes in addition to the recruitment-related offenses that are described above. Some common examples of gang-related offenses include:

  • Aggravated Assault
  • Burglary
  • Drug Sales and Distribution
  • Gun Possession
  • Motor Vehicle Theft
  • Robbery
  • Theft (Larceny)

How Utah’s Gang Enhancement Increases Criminal Penalties

Like many other states, Utah has laws that increase the penalties for certain crimes that are committed:

  • With two or more people.
  • In order to be promoted within, or accepted into, a gang.
  • In relation to a gang, meaning crimes committed:
    • In association with the gang.
    • For the gang’s benefit.
    • At the gang’s instruction.

These crimes include, but are not limited to:

  • Aggravated Assault
  • Aggravated Burglary
  • Aggravated Human Trafficking
  • Aggravated Kidnapping
  • Aggravated Murder
  • Aggravated Robbery
  • Aggravated Sexual Assault
  • Assault
  • Bribery
  • Burglary
  • Carrying a Concealed Firearm
  • Carrying a Loaded Gun in Vehicle or on Street
  • Drug Possession (Possession of Controlled Substances)
  • Exploiting Prostitution
  • Extortion
  • Felony Discharge of a Firearm
  • Firearms Sales to Juveniles
  • Fraud
  • Harassment
  • Homicide by Assault
  • Human Trafficking
  • Kidnapping
  • Manslaughter
  • Mayhem
  • Money Laundering
  • Murder
  • Obstruction of Justice
  • Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
  • Prostitution
  • Rape
  • Reckless Endangerment
  • Retaliation Against a Witness
  • Robbery
  • Sexual Exploitation of a Minor
  • Stalking
  • Theft
  • Threat of Violence
  • Trespassing (Criminal Trespass)
  • Vehicular Homicide

Due to the gang enhancement, penalties for these crimes become more severe than they would normally be. Here is how the penalties change:

  • Class B MisdemeanorClass A Misdemeanor
    Fine – Up to $2,500 ($1,500 increase)
    Sentence – Up to 1 year in jail (6-month increase)
  • Class A Misdemeanor → Third Degree Felony
    Fine – Up to $5,000 ($2,500 increase)
    Sentence – Up to 5 years in prison (4-year increase)
  • Third Degree FelonySecond Degree Felony
    Fine – Up to $10,000 ($5,000 increase)
    Sentence – Up to 15 years in prison (10-year increase)
  • Second Degree FelonyFirst Degree Felony
    Fine – Up to $10,000 (no increase)
    Sentence – Up to life in prison

Our Criminal Defense Attorneys Can Help Defense You Against Gang Crime Charges in Utah

Being charged with any crime is a serious matter. However, gang-related criminal allegations are exceptionally serious due to the steep penalty enhancements that apply. A criminal record involving gang activity can alter the rest of your life for the worse, especially if you are convicted of a felony. You may be imprisoned, heavily fined, and sentenced to probation. You may also lose your driver’s license, and your right to bear arms. It will also become more difficult to get a job, and you may be turned down for certain loans.

These are serious consequences that demand immediate and strategic action. Do not wait until it is too late to contact a criminal lawyer for help. If you have been charged with gang crimes in Utah, or if one of your family members was arrested for gang activity, call the law offices of Overson & Bugden right away at (801) 758-2287 for a free and confidential legal consultation.