Criminal Defense Law Center
West Michigan

Michigan Gang Violence Laws

Michigan Gang Violence Laws

Anyone who is in a gang or a victim of gang violence should be aware of the tough Michigan gang violence laws that are on the book in this state.  If you are arrested for being in a gang, you are facing serious prison time. If a person commits a felony is in a gang, that information will be used 

The heart of Michigan gang violence laws is found at MCL 750.411u

Associate or member of the gang; commission or attempt to commit a felony; membership in a gang as motive, means, or opportunity; penalty; definitions; consecutive sentence.

Sec. 411u.

  (1) If a person who is an associate or a member of a gang commits a felony or attempts to commit a felony and the person’s association or membership in the gang provides the motive, means, or opportunity to commit the felony, the person is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 20 years. As used in this section:
  (a) “Gang” means an ongoing organization, association, or group of 5 or more people, other than a nonprofit organization, that identifies itself by all of the following:
  (i) A unifying mark, manner, protocol, or method of expressing membership, including a common name, sign or symbol, means of recognition, geographical or territorial sites, or boundary or location.
  (ii) An established leadership or command structure.
  (iii) Defined membership criteria.
  (b) “Gang member” or “member of a gang” means a person who belongs to a gang.
  (2) A sentence imposed under this section is in addition to the sentence imposed for the conviction of the underlying felony or the attempt to commit the underlying felony and may be served consecutively with and preceding any term of imprisonment imposed for the conviction of the felony or attempt to commit the felony.

How Does Michigan Law Define Gangs?

According to the law in Michigan, a gang can be made up of an association or organization of five people or more and these people share the following characteristics:

  • A shared symbol, geographical area, sign, method of expressing membership or protocol,
  • An identifiable structure of command
  • A set of Criteria for membership in the gang.

This legal definition can cover a wide range of people. It would cover a group of teenagers who are being rebellious. This definition could cover a group of hardened criminals. If you are charged with a crime, you do not want this distinction because it means you will be facing additional penalties. 

What Criminal Penalties Apply To Gang Members?

Here are some examples of additional punishments people in a gang will face when charged with a felony:

Recruiting gang members—Michigan Penal Code section 750.411v makes it a crime to bring in new gang members or to force a person into engaging in a gang-related felony. The penalty for this is up to five years in the big house and a massive fine of up to $5,000.00. 

Retaining membership through threats—The Michigan Penal Code found again in 750.411v gives out a punishment of up to 20 years in prison for punishing of threatening relatives to keep a gang member from leaving. It also carries with it a huge maximum fine of up $20,000.00.

The Feds Can Use Anti-Mafia Laws To Target Street Gangs!

Flint has its share of gang violence. In 2014, the feds arrested members of a gang in Michigan known as the Howard Boys. 

The law these men were charged with was the  Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).  The federal government has known used these charges on other gangs in Michigan. 

This law was originally signed by Nixon into law in 1970. The goal of this law was to help federal law enforcement officers prosecute the mafia.  Recently, RICO has been used by prosecutors to go after street gangs. RICO casts a huge net that allows people to be charged under this statue who may have conspired to engage in criminal activity but did not follow through with the criminal activity. 

Federal prosecutors can also go after people for violating RICO after committing two or more crimes within ten years as being part of a “criminal enterprise.” Here are some examples:

  • Violating state laws against drug trafficking, murder, gambling, bribery, and extortion. 
  • Violating federal laws against bribery, counterfeiting, theft, embezzlement, racketeering, money laundering, and gambling. 
  • The embezzling of union funds
  • Committing fraud in bankruptcy or the trading of securities.
  • Money laundering
  • Acts of terrorism

Anyone who is convicted of these charges could face a maximum punishment of up to 20 years in prison. The maximum fine for this is up to $25,000. 

How Grand Rapids Gang Violence Lawyer May Help

If you are facing charges by a Michigan or Federal prosecutor, we can help. We have the tough and successful violent crimes attorney you need to get the best results possible in your case.  Shawn can use the following defenses to get you the best results possible. 

  1. Proving Reasonable doubt — Every charge requires a prosecutor to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. Our lawyers know how to cast reasonable doubt on every shred of evidence the prosecutor will present in your case. 
  2. Negotiating a plea deal–In cases where the prosecutor has an extremely strong case, we will get you the best results possible. Why face ten years in prison when we can get you a one-year jail cap. Do not face a felony conviction when our plea deal can get walking out of the courtroom with a misdemeanor conviction. 
  3. Suppressing Evidence–When the police have gathered evidence in a way that violates your constitutional rights, the prosecutor is not allowed to use that evidence. We can file a motion to suppress that evidence. 

If you have any questions, please give Shawn a call today at 616-438-6719. The call is free. Will you be? Do not wait. Call Shawn now for a free case evaluation on your Michigan Gang Violence Laws. Shawn can put your mind at ease and show you how he can help you get the best results possible. 

Get A Free Case Strategy Session