This part of the law makes it a crime to participate in a street gang and assist in any felony criminal conduct by the gang’s members.
The penalties for participation in a gang, in violation of Penal Code 186.22(a) PC, can include one (1) year in county jail . . . or a felony sentence of sixteen (16) months, two (2) years or three (3) years in state prison.
This part of the law provides that anyone who commits a felony for the benefit of a gang will receive a mandatory prison sentence . . . in addition and consecutive to the penalty s/he receives for the underlying felony.
Depending on the circumstances of the offense, Penal Code 186.22(b) PC could mean an additional two (2) to fifteen (15) years, or even twenty-five (25)-years-to-life, in prison…even if you’re not a gang member, and even if you aren’t the individual who was most directly responsible for committing the underlying felony.
Just because a person is a gang member doesn’t mean everything he does is on behalf or for the benefit of the gang. Just as a cop who beats his wife didn’t do it “on behalf or for the benefit” of the Police department.