Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis said last month that Fulton County has a “gang problem” and that her office is committed to prosecuting gang members to combat violent crime. DA Willis went on to say that there are at least 50,000 active gang members in the metro Atlanta area.
So if the Fulton County District Attorney’s office charges you with being in a criminal street gang and returns an indictment against you, here are the elements that must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt by the Fulton County District Attorney.
- You are associated either directly or indirectly with a group.
It is not enough to say you are just associated with a group. The Georgia Criminal Street Gang statute does not criminalize membership with a group. It must be proven in court that you actively participated in criminal street gang activity through the commission of an actual criminal act.
- The group itself has to be a criminal street gang.
This means that three or more people have organized themselves to engage in criminal activity. This can be proven with a common name, signs, symbols, graffiti, clothing or other distinguishing items.
- The defendant committed a criminal street gang activity.
The Fulton District Attorney must prove that you committed, attempted to commit, conspired to commit or intimidated another person to commit any offense in O.C.G.A. 16-15-3.
- This act was in furtherance of the criminal street gang.
There must be some link between your specific act and the intent to further the interest of your gang. The Fulton County District Attorney must prove that you had the specific intent to further the interest of your gang.
It is vital that if you are arrested under the gang statute in Fulton County, that you do not make any statements to the police. Hire an attorney immediately. The Fulton County District Attorney’s office is zealously prosecuting gang cases and has an entire unit dedicated to prosecuting gang cases. You must take your case seriously and challenge every aspect of the State’s case.
Also, remember that all phone calls in the Fulton County jail are being recorded. Do not profess your innocence on a recorded phone line.
Give us a call at 404-581-0999. We are located just a few blocks from the Fulton County Courthouse at 100 Peachtree Street, Suite 2060, Atlanta, GA 30303.