Teens Get Prison for Armed Robbery Spree; Plead Guilty to Evading Police

Earlier this month, two teens, Victor and Jonah Ledesma, 19 and 18, were sentenced to prison for robbing pedestrians at gunpoint and knifepoint during a crime spree in the Hillcrest, University Heights, North Park, and La Jolla communities. The two teens had pleaded guilty to robbery, auto theft and evading police back in September.

Victor Ledesma already had a robbery conviction, so he was sentenced to 21 years and four months imprisonment. Judge Timothy Walsh sentenced Jonah Ledesma to 13 years in prison.  Additionally, two additional 15 year olds were arrested in connection to the crimes connected by the Ledesmas, but they were prosecuted in Juvenile court. Deputy District Attorney Jim Koerber said nine victims were held up during six robbery incidents.

The event that led up the suspects’ arrests occurred in Mission beach, when their car ran over a spike strip and smashed into another car. They were trying to evade the police in a car chase at the time.

Evading a Police Officer

In California, the crime of evading a police officer is codified in the vehicle code and not the Penal Code. To be convicted of the crime of evading a police officer you must have:

  • Specifically intended to evade the police;
  • The police vehicle was sounding the siren as necessary, and exhibiting their lights;
  • The police vehicle must be distinctively marked and operated by police wearing distinctive uniform;

See Vehicle Code § 2800.1.

The crime of evading police is a misdemeanor punishable by one year imprisonment and a fine up to $1,000. It is a separate and distinct crime from the more serious crime of felony reckless evading (Vehicle Code § 2800.2) and evading an officer causing injury or death (Vehicle Code § 2800.3).

Legal Defenses

It should be noted that you are guilty of evading police only if you did so willingly or with the specific intent to. The code requires a distinctive police uniform. This means that if you were running from a man in street clothes (who just happens to be an undercover cop), you may not be charged with this crime. Additionally, there are specific requirements as to the officer’s car, sirens, and markings in order to evading police charges to stick. An officer trying to pull you over in an undercover vehicle also would not suffice for the charges.  

Lastly, the legal defense of voluntary intoxication is also sometimes available for this charge.  Because you were intoxicated, you could not form the intent to actually run from the police.

San Diego Evading a Police Officer Lawyer

At The Law Offices of David M. Boertje, we understand that some people, especially marginalized communities and those unfamiliar with police, can panic without ever intending to commit a crime. Whether you were falsely accused of evading arrest (evasion), or made a mistake and committed this offense, it is important you contact a lawyer to fight for you. At the Law Offices of David M. Boertje, we will fight for your freedom.