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California has carefully drafted laws to curtail the street crime and gang activity in the state. The laws were (Penal Code §§186.21-186.30) enacted in 1988 under the Street Terrorism Enforcement &Prevention [S.T.E.P.] Act. In these, the penal code §§186.22 is at the center of the state’s strict stance against the street gang crimes and enables the prosecutor to charge the person with a felony for a misdemeanor and to increase the sentence and jail time of the person.
The subsection (f) of the penal code 186.22 provides the definition of the street gang consisting of following three elements.
The common name or identification symbol is shared by all members. If the gang uses multiple names, the prosecutor can establish this point by using at least one common name shared by all participants.
The association’s one of the primary activities is to predicate one or more crimes listed in section (e) of the §§186.22. Currently, there are 33 offenses on the list, including manslaughter, looting, robbery, theft, assault, firearm dealing, and drug abuse, sales, distribution or manufacturing.
Pattern of Criminal Gang Activity
The next part of the definition is the pattern of criminal gang activity. The pattern of gang activity is established through the following points,
For example, if three participants name themselves ‘Blaze’ and get a pistol tattoo on their arm, it fulfills the first part of the definition to be called as a street gang. However, if the group only carries concealed firearm and has not committed any other crime from the list, the association cannot qualify as a gang because of lack ‘pattern of criminal gang activity.”
According to the clause of “Promoted, furthered, or assisted”, the prosecutor should establish beyond considerable doubt that the person committed the crime directly or abetted or aided the listed crime under the California’s enhancement law.
We at Chesley’s law firm make use of this clause to defend our clients. This clause can only be implemented if the crime is committed, aided or abetted other gang members and a person who commissioned the felony on his own or alone cannot be convicted under this clause. However, the person can be convicted of a gang-related crime under another section.
The prosecutor in the gang enhancement cases has the responsibility to prove above-mentioned elements beyond considerable doubt. The elements are proven through the testimony of ‘gang experts.’ The gang experts are the police officers who work and investigate the gangs and testify the pattern of criminal gang activity. The previous convictions of other members of the gangs are presented to the court in the form of certified copies. Then, the gang expert testifies that the convicted were the part of the same gang as the current defender.
The gang expert has the primary importance in such cases, and some of the gang experts are real experts with extensive knowledge about gangs and their organized pattern of crime. Because of its central authority, it is imperative that all the lawyers must be familiar with the gang expert. These issues are properly raised pretrial under the guise of in limine or preliminary fact motions.
At Chesley lawyers, we investigate a gang-related case thoroughly to pinpoint the loopholes and to prepare for a successful trial. We are trained by gang experts and have years of experience in working with them on the court. With our seasoned defense attorney practice and knowledge of gang sentence enhancement, you stand a better chance of being acquitted or lesser degree charges.
Multiple defendants each facing 7 years charged with smuggling prescription drugs into California from Mexico our client was the only defendant who received NO JAIL TIME!
Client facing 5 years for possession of deadly weapon we negotiated a plea for NO JAIL TIME!
Client facing 3 life terms for multiple felony counts of Child Molestation and Sodomy with child we proved the charges were fabricated by victims mother DISMISSAL of all charges at preliminary hearing!
Strike case: Client charged with possession of methamphetamine facing 25 years we filed a Romero Motion which was granted case REDUCED TO MISDEMEANOR!
Client’s estranged girlfriend alleged Client broke into her room and choked her facing 14 years in State Prison we won at trial JURY ACQUITTAL.
Police allegedly discovered 3 bags of marijuana in client’s glove box faced 6 years we filed a 1538.5 motion to suppress resulting in DISMISSAL of all charges!
Client allegedly sold rock cocaine to undercover officer faced 10 years following our argument client received NO JAIL TIME!
Client facing 15 years for Armed Robbery we proved misidentification Judge DISMISSED the case!
Rodrigo L. San Fernando, CA (Sherman Oaks Yelp Review)
I am truly pleased with my experience with the Law Offices Of David S Chesley. They answered all my questions and provided me with great advice and legal services. My case resolved quickly. Thank you!
Ricardo Esteves Los Angeles, CA (Los Angeles Google Places Review)
I left court yesterday with my last case being wrapped up. Two court appearances and that’s it. He represented me in a couple of different cases and was impressive to say the least. Always a phone call or text message away. Confident and aggressive when he needed to be. Calming and thorough when meeting with me. Attorney Chesley did exactly what he said he would and I got the results I needed. He seemed to know all the right people at the Temple Street courthouse. You can always get in contact with him quickly and he is a great lawyer. I highly recommend his legal services.
Erica Geller Ontario, CA (Ontario Facebook review)
My brother was given a very caring attorney that was assigned to his case and we had very helpful case managers throughout the process. I strongly recommend David Chesley to anyone who is in trouble. I called in to get help on my brothers case and right away I liked their service. My brothers charges were eventually dismissed after the attorney got him into a program, now he could go on without the trouble of having anything on his record
Elizabeth F. San Diego, CA (San Diego Google Places Review)
I retained Mr. Chesley and his firm and from the beginning they were extremely professional both in communicating the status of my case to me, explaining the situation as a whole, and just downright taking care of business. It was money well spent for a job well done. Thanks again to David and Melissa others that worked on my case. I recommend this firm to anyone in need of legal representation. Don’t just accept things the courts force on you, call this firm and protect yourself.
Leon Hanley Los Angeles, CA (Los Angeles Avvo review)
I contacted Mr. Chesley and his firm because some unfortunate events had left me in a jam. Detectives were demanding I testify or be prosecuted for a crime I didn’t commit. (I wasn’t involved or even at the scene of the alleged crime when it supposedly took place.) Mr. Chesley explained to me that he had been through similar situations with his clients before and understood exactly what was going on. His response to what took place was nothing short of amazing. No matter how small my concern, Mr. Chesley addressed it in a timely manner. He advocated for what is right and empathized with me in dealing with the Court system. After meeting with the supervising D.A. and providing alibi evidence he was able to get me out the situation. I’m very grateful to have found him.
Britanny Givens Newport Beach, CA (Newport Beach Google Places)
I hired David Chesley for my criminal defense in 2012. he was recommended to us for is success results and his low fees. David is very smart and his professional legal advice was honest & much appreciated during these stressful time. David’s knowledge, advice, and communication about what we were to expect was reassuring and beneficial to me. He charged me a reasonable flat rate and didn’t charge me any surprise fees. In my case David Chesley was able to negotiate with the prosecution attorney for the best result I could hope for. He had success at getting my criminal charges dismissed with the judges approval. You will not be disappointed if you hire The Law Offices of David S. Chesley.
Andrew A. North Hollywood, CA (Better Business Bureau review)
David is very professional, yet very casual. Although it is typically not easy to speak straight up with an attorney, he is very easy to talk to. He replied to my questions quickly and was available all hours. Not only did he get my case resolved with a dismissal, he went above and beyond and got me an expungement without me even requesting it. He never beats around the bush and tells you like it is. At the same time is willing to work overtime to get the results you request. I would use David’s services again in the future.