More and more I'm getting a lot of these cases where people are charged with murder. It's usually a drive-by gang shooting and a lot of times my client is not even being charged of being the shooter.
But, they really throw a broad net over gang activity and if multiple people are in a car, one person is driving, you've got passengers and maybe just one shooter, the police are going to arrest everybody. California drive-by shooting laws are covered under Penal Code 26100.
The prosecutors are going to file very serious charges especially if somebody is killed during the drive-by shooting. They're going to charge everybody with the murder.
Conspiracy and Gang Allegations in Murder Cases
They're going to say it's a conspiracy between everybody. The use the gang allegation to link everything together with the argument that a gang member shoot other gang members.
Also, even other people in the community to instill fear and for the benefit of the gang, so everyone knows that gang is dangerous and nobody messes with them when they do their drug activity or other violent offenses that they're being accused of.
The law in a lot of ways has supported these charges and going after people – even people who are not the shooters and who didn't intend to kill anybody.
So, that's where you really need a good defense attorney to segregate you out if you're the defendant or your loved one out if your loved one is in custody.
A lot of times in these drive-by shootings where somebody dies and the person gets arrested, that person is going to be in custody and they're going to be looking at $1 million, $2 million, $3 million, $4 million in bail depending on how many charges there are and depending on exactly what happened in a particular case.
Felony-Murder Rule in California
So, you really need to get down to what evidence they have against a particular defendant. This felony-murder rule concept, if you're in the process of committing a felony and somebody dies, even if you're not the actual shooter, sometimes the prosecutors will try and go after you and hold you responsible for the murder.
There is recent case law that just came out which is actually helpful to the defense which says that you've got to be a major participant in the murder in order to be charged with the murder.
If you're not the shooter for example in a shooting where somebody drives by and kills somebody, you're going to be able to make the argument that you shouldn't be held accountable for that murder.
But the issue is going to be what role did you play? Are there gang allegations? Were you the driver? Are they even able to tell who the shooter is? Again, this is what is so incredible about these murder drive-by shootings that involve gangs.
It's that the legislature, the police, prosecutors and judges are so fed up and angry about these type of crimes that they just started to lump all of these gang members together and then one concerted effort these guys can just literally take people out.
They want to give them life without the possibility of parole, try to seek the death penalty under the right circumstances from their perspective, or get some huge double-digit sentence — whether it be over 20 years, 10 years.
Experienced Los Angeles Criminal Lawyer
So, these cases are treated the most serious in Los Angeles county. So, if you or a loved one is charged with a murder in a gang drive-by shooting, you really need to get a good defense attorney who knows these types of cases.
In my opinion, having done this for 26 years, I don't think there's that any attorneys who know how to handle these cases, have had success with them and had experience with them.
A lot of lawyers are afraid to handle these cases. I can't tell you how many times I've taken one of these cases after the preliminary hearing and I ask the defendant or his family why the other lawyer is not staying on the case.
They say basically the other lawyer said he couldn't handle the case. I'm thinking, he shouldn't have handled the preliminary hearing then because that's a very important stage of the proceeding.
That's like a mini trial. That's an opportunity to cross-examine witnesses and do everything you possibly can to try to set the case up for a trial if that's where the case is headed.
So, if you need help with a loved on being charged with a drive-by murder gang shooting, pick up the phone. Make the call. I'll do everything I can to help you.
Hedding Law Firm is a criminal defense law firm located in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles County at 16000 Ventura Blvd #1208 Encino, CA 91436. Contact us for a free case evaluation at (213) 542-0979.