Learn the Best Defenses Against Gang Allegations Under California Penal Code 186.22 in the Downtown Los Angeles Courthouse
Probably most gang allegations are charged in the downtown LA courthouse, 210 West Temple. You're typically not going to see a gang allegation all by itself.
It's usually going to be attached to charges. Meaning, someone will be charged with a crime and then they'll tack on the back of that crime a gang allegation under California Penal Code 186.22.
A lot of these gang allegations, especially in serious crimes like drive-by shootings, murder, attempted murder, any of these big-ticket items, that gang allegation is going to be worth 10 years.
It's going to make the crime a strike and there is one big thing people don't really think about when you're talking about defense of gang allegations.
Falsifying Field Identification Cards
That is that the prosecutors get to bring in all the gang information about the person like their:
- prior criminal record,
- FI cards (field identification cards by police officers).
This is in a gang situation when the person admits they're a gang member, at least according to the police — that's being investigated.
Right now, there are a bunch of LAPD officers being criminally tried in the downtown courthouse for falsifying those FI cards.
The bottom line is, by being able to bring in all that bad gang evidence in front of a judge and a jury, they dirty-up the defendant. Now the judge and jury are thinking, this guy's a gang member, look at all this bad stuff he's involved with.
A judge tends to make bad rulings against a person. A jury tends to have that spill-over effect — this guy's a gang member, he's a bad guy, he must have committed a crime.
The gang allegation comes right behind it and now the person is looking at many years in prison.
Committing Crime for the Benefit of a Gang
So, you need an attorney who is used to dealing with these gang allegations. The biggest thing they try to argue is that whatever crime the person committed was committed for the benefit of a string gang, and a lot of times people are allegedly involved in crimes that really have nothing to do with a street gang.
Maybe somebody robbed somebody because they want money. That doesn't have anything to do with a street gang. Maybe somebody commits a violent act because somebody else commits a violent act against them and they're just defending themselves.
That doesn't have anything to do with a street gang.
But if prosecutors find out you're involved with a gang and you commit any type of crime in LA county and your case is sent to that downtown LA courthouse they're going to hit you with a gang allegation.
For them, it's beautiful, because even if they can't get you for it, they get to put all the bad evidence in about your gang affiliation which makes it a lot more likely you're going to get convicted by a potential jury if they see all that evidence.
How Can I Challenge PC 186.22 Gang Allegation?
What I do is we sit down and go over your case. We go over any gang affiliation you might have, and obviously, it's my job to attack their gang expert and say:
- Can you even prove that he's part of a gang?
- What evidence do you have that whatever he's allegedly doing is for the benefit of a street gang?
That's where the rubber meets the road. That's where the battle lines are drawn.
I've been handling these cases now for over 26 years as a criminal defense attorney in downtown LA.
I've handled thousands of cases in Los Angeles county and countless cases at 210 West Temple, the main courthouse, Department 30, the arraignment court, then all the preliminary hearing courts on the third floor, and above that, you have the trial courts.
So, if you or a loved one are charged with a serious crime with a gang allegation attached and you need help, you need the best, pick up the phone. Ask to speak with Ron Hedding. Set up a face to face meeting with me. I will see what I can do to help you get through this difficult time.