Alabama’s new gang prevention law now in effect
MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) -State bill 143 went into effect on September 1st allowing for tougher penalties for those involved in gang activity. The law has ten criteria to identify someone as a gang member. If officers can prove at least three of them, the penalties for the crime get enhanced.
“If you’re convicted of a Class A felony the minimum sentence starts at 10 years,” said Mobile Police Chief Paul Prine. “Now if you’re convicted of a Class A felony and we can prove you’re part of a gang enterprise the minimum sentence starts at 25 years.”
Mobile Police Chief Paul Prine says the law adds an additional five years to a person’s sentence if they have a weapon. There’s also enhancements for modifying a gun with a Glock chip.
“That five years with state penitentiary is day for day with no suspension, no revocation, no good service,” said Prine.
“There’s an enhancement for simply carrying one, there’s an enhancement for brandishing one, there’s an enhancement for discharging one,” said Mobile County District Attorney Keith Blackwood.
Chief Prine says most of their shooting victims and suspects are between 15-25 years old. Part of the law includes a big change for those 16 and up.
“They will be tried as an adult. The juvenile court loses all jurisdiction in these types of organized crime cases,” said Blackwood.
“Maybe just some of these young individuals in our community that are prone to the subculture of gun violence will rethink what they’re going to do because they’re going to spend a lot of time in prison,” said Prine.
Blackwood says the law applies to anything from street gangs to any criminal enterprise and he expects it to make a difference.
“We fully expect to use this new law and we expect it to make our community safer,” said Blackwood.
According to the new law the criteria for identifying someone as a gang member are as follows:
- Admits to criminal enterprise membership
- Is voluntarily identified as a criminal enterprise member by parent or guardian
- Is identified as a criminal enterprise member by a reliable informant
- Adopts the style of dress of a criminal enterprise
- Adopts the use of a hand sign identified as used by a criminal enterprise
- Has a tattoo identified as used by a criminal enterprise
- Associates with one or more known criminal enterprise members
- Is identified as a criminal enterprise member by physical evidence
- Has been observes in the company of one or more known criminal enterprise members four or more times
- Has authored any communication indicating responsibility for the commission of any crime by a criminal enterprise.
You can read the entire law here.
Copyright 2023 WALA. All rights reserved.