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North Carolina Criminal Law Chapter 14-34.9: Criminal Street Gang Activity – Discharging a Firearm From Within an Enclosure

1. Definition and Elements of the Crime

Criminal Street Gang Activity – Discharging a Firearm From Within an Enclosure Under North Carolina Criminal Law Chapter 14-34.9, the crime of discharging a firearm from within an enclosure while simultaneously engaged in a pattern of criminal street gang activity is defined as the willful or wanton discharge and/or attempted discharge of a firearm within an enclosure toward a person or person not within the enclosure.

The Defendant’s discharge or attempted discharge of a firearm must also occur as part of criminal street gang activity.

To prove the crime of discharging a firearm from within an enclosure while engaged in a pattern of criminal street gang activity, the State must be able to establish the elements of the offense (prima facie elements) Beyond a Reasonable Doubt:

  1. That the Defendant willfully or wantonly discharged and/or attempted to discharge a firearm within a(n) building, structure, motor vehicle, other conveyance (describe conveyance), erection or enclosure toward a person or persons not within that enclosure

  2. That the Defendant discharged or attempted to discharge the firearm as part of a pattern of criminal street gang activity. To prove a pattern of criminal street gang activity, the State must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

    1. On (name date) the defendant, in (name court) was convicted of, pled guilty to the felony of (name felony) that was committed on (name date) in violation of North Carolina law, the law of another State in the United States or United States law.

    2. And on (name date) the defendant, in (name court) was convicted of or pled guilty to (name felony), that was committed on (name date) in violation of North Carolina, the law of another State in the United States or United States law.

    3. At least one of these offense occurred after December 1, 2008, and the last of the offenses occurred within three years, excluding any periods of imprisonment, of prior criminal street gang activity.

“Pattern of street gang activity” is defined as engaging in and having a conviction for at least two prior incidents of criminal street gang activity that have the same or similar purposes, results, accomplices, victims, or methods of commission or otherwise are interrelated by common characteristics and are not isolated and unrelated incidents.

“Criminal street gang activity” means to “commit, to attempt to commit, or to solicit, coerce or intimidate another person to commit an acts or acts, with the specific intent that such act or acts were intended or committed for the purpose, or in furtherance, of the person’s involvement in a gang or street gang.”

2. Examples

Defendant was convicted of soliciting a minor to participate in gang activity in Charlotte NC and threats to deter gang withdrawal in 2015 and 2016, respectively. Defendant is hanging out in a drug house in Mecklenburg County with a few of his gang members. A rival gang decides to rob the drug house based on a tip that the gang received a large shipment of oxycodone pills. Defendant pulls out an assault rifle and begins to return fire on the rival gang as they storm the house he is in. Defendant can be charged with discharging a firearm from within an enclosure while engaged in a pattern of criminal street gang activity.

Defendant has been a gang member in Charlotte for several years. Defendant has two prior convictions five years ago for solicitation of participation in criminal gang activity. Recently, Defendant’s brother, a member of a rival gang, was killed during a shootout between gangs. Defendant wants to seek revenge. Defendant defects and joins the rival gang. Defendant, along with some of his new gang members, hide in an abandoned warehouse while another member pretends to sell drugs to the person suspected of killing Defendant’s brother. The transaction takes place in an alley. Defendant fires multiple times from his Glock at the gang member but that person escapes without harm. Defendant can be charged with discharging a firearm from within an enclosure while engaged in a pattern of criminal street gang activity.

3. Related Offenses

Other similar or related offenses include:

  1. Murder Charges
  2. Homicide & Murder Defense
  3. Criminal Law FAQs
  4. Carrying Concealed Weapon CCW
  5. Communicating Threats
  6. Miranda Rights
  7. Drug Trafficking charges in Charlotte
  8. § 14-34.9. Discharging a firearm from within an enclosure
4. Defenses to Criminal Street Gang Activity – Discharging a Firearm From Within an Enclosure

Criminal Street Gang Activity – Discharging a Firearm From Within an Enclosure The Defendant has a viable defense under North Carolina law if they can show they were not engaged in a pattern of criminal street gang activity or they can prove they were not in an enclosure while discharging or attempting to discharge a weapon.

5. Penalties

The punishment for the crime of discharging a firearm from within an enclosure while engaged in a pattern of criminal street gang activity is a Class E felony punishable by a maximum period of incarceration of 88 months in a state correctional facility.

6. Criminal Defense for Criminal Street Gang Activity – Discharging a Firearm From Within an Enclosure

If you have been charged with discharging a firearm from within an enclosure while engaged in a pattern of criminal street gang activity, you need to be apprised of the serious consequences you face.

The team of experienced Charlotte criminal defense lawyers at Powers Law Firm PA is available for consultation.

Crimes committed during gang activities can severely enhance the penalties you are facing and may expose you to federal criminal charges as well.

Bill Powers is Board Certified as a Criminal Law Specialist by the (NBLSC) National Board of Legal Specialty Certification / (NBTA) National Board of Trial Advocacy.

Chris J. Beddow is a criminal defense lawyer and is a part of our team of Charlotte lawyers.

We believe it is very important your legal defense without delay.

Please call 704-342-4357 immediately.

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