I'm not quite sure how to form this question, but basically I've watched a lot of shows that record crimes happening. These are usually the series about narcotics, violence, etc. The shows film crimes taking progress such as drug sales and consumption, prostitution, robberies, gang activity, etc.
How is it possible for these shows to go on the air and what legalities do they face in doing so? California has a law against this sort of thing which is why I ask. I don't know about federal or other states though.
The statute in question is California Penal Code 182.5. The code makes it a felony for anyone to participate in a criminal street gang, have knowledge that a street gang has engaged in criminal activity, or benefit from that activity.
How do they film a particular individual committing a crime, but not incriminate that individual? Do they get special permission to film these activities?
Update: I'm referring to non-fiction shows such as Drugs Inc. Not shows like CSI Miami.