Recruiting or encouraging young people to get involved in a street gang is a criminal offense. This includes intimidating, forcing, or threatening anyone under the age of 18 to join a criminal street gang. Recruitment of juveniles for a criminal street gang is a class 1 misdemeanor with penalties including up to 18 months in jail and a fine of up to $5,000. In this article, our Colorado criminal defense lawyers will address:
- 1. What is the recruitment of juveniles for a criminal street gang?
- 2. What are considered criminal street gangs?
- 3. What are the penalties for recruiting juveniles for a street gang?
- 4. Related Offenses
It is a criminal offense for anyone 18 years of age or older to recruit a juvenile under the age of 18 to join a street gang. This includes anyone who solicits, invites, encourages, coerces, or otherwise causes a juvenile to actively participate in a criminal street gang or become a member. It also includes making threats, using force or bodily injury, intimidating a juvenile to become a gang member, or preventing a juvenile from leaving a criminal street gang.1
In order for a defendant to be convicted of recruitment of juveniles for a criminal street gang, the prosecutor may have to show that the group involved is a criminal street gang under Colorado law.
A criminal street gang is any ongoing organization, association, or group of 3 or more persons which has a primary goal or activity to commit one or more criminal acts, and whose members engage in a pattern of criminal activity. A pattern of criminal activity means engaging in at least two of the specified predicate criminal acts. This includes the commission of a crime, or the attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation of specified criminal acts.2
Street gangs in Colorado may include the nationally active Crips and Bloods, as well as individual local street gangs.
Criminal street gangs are often prosecuted under Colorado's Organized Crime Act. This prohibits organized criminal activity which involves groups like the mafia or criminal street gangs. The predicate pattern of criminal activity includes a number of state and federal criminal acts, including:
- Criminal extortion
- Human trafficking
- Aggravated motor vehicle theft
- Computer crimes
- Money laundering
- Credit card fraud
- Identity theft
- Sexual exploitation of children
- Attempt to influence a public servant
- Intimidating a juror
- Tampering with a witness or victim
- Possessing an illegal weapon or a dangerous weapon
- Drug crimes
Recruiting juveniles for a criminal street gang is a class 1 misdemeanor. The penalties for juvenile street gang recruitment include 6 to 18 months in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.3
An adult charged with recruiting juveniles for a street gang may also face a number of other criminal charges related to the gang. This may include conspiracy charges related to gang activity even if an individual was not the person who actually committed the crime.
Criminal street gangs are associated with a number of criminal offenses. These related criminal offenses range from minor vandalism and graffiti to more serious offenses, such as drug trafficking, drive-by shootings, prostitution, weapons charges, assault, and murder.
The Colorado Organized Crime Act prohibits a number of criminal activities aimed at members of criminal enterprises. Criminal gang activity may also be known as “racketeering.” Criminal racketeering is a class 2 felony in Colorado, with penalties including up to 24 years in prison and fines of up to $1 million.
There are criminal laws against the possession, sale, manufacture, or trafficking in controlled substances. Penalties for simple possession for personal use may involve drug treatment instead of jail. However, the sale, manufacture, or distribution of drugs can lead to felony criminal charges. The penalties for drug crimes depend on the type of drugs involved, amount of drugs, and the defendant's criminal history.
Gun possession and ownership is subject to a number of restrictions in Colorado. Certain individuals are prohibited from owning a gun, including fugitives, individuals unlawfully in the United States, and people subject to a restraining order or protective order that prohibits gun possession.
Aggravated motor vehicle theft in Colorado involves obtaining or exercising control of someone else's car, truck, motorcycle or other vehicle. Aggravated vehicle theft is a felony, with penalties depending on the defendant's criminal history and the value of the stolen vehicle. The penalties for first degree motor vehicle theft include up to 12 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.
Call us for help...
If you were charged for recruiting juveniles to join a criminal street gang or are being investigated for gang crimes, please contact us at Colorado Legal Defense Group. Our caring Colorado defense attorneys have many years of experience representing clients who have been charged with criminal offenses. We are among the best Colorado criminal defense attorneys to call. Contact us today for a free consultation by phone or in-person or in our Denver law office.
- C.R.S. 18-23-102(1)
- C.R.S. 18-23-101
- C.R.S. 18-23-102(2)