In 2012, our client was 26 years old and, one Saturday evening, went out for dinner and drinks with his friends in Hermosa Beach.
The evening involved a healthy dose of drinking and before he knew it, the bars were closing because it was 2:00 a.m. Our client left the bar with his friends, who were going to get a taxi to drive them back to one friend’s house, where they planned to sleep.
On the way to the taxi pick up area, such east of Pier Plaza, our client felt the need to urinate and apparently did so on the wall of a nearby building. Hermosa Beach police officers patrolling this common area for public urination immediately spotted our client and issued him a ticket, marking the citation code as Penal Code § 372, public nuisance, a misdemeanor.
Our client signed a promise to appear in the Torrance Superior Court about two months later and was allowed to rejoin his friends, who waited for him before piling into the taxi together.
In the drunken state he was in, our client lost the ticket and then went to the Airport Courthouse to ask about when he needed to appear. The clerk in the criminal clerk’s office told him they had no record of his being cited for anything or needing to appear. The clerk commented to him that sometimes police officers will issue a citation to just scare a person into never repeating the same conduct, but no case will be filed, especially if the person has no criminal history.
Our client readily accepted the clerk’s explanation of events and considered himself lucky for not being prosecuted.
Eight and a half years later, in 2021, our client was applying to a prestigious job in Santa Monica. He was now married (to an attorney no less) and living with her in Highland Park. The potential employer was completing the last phase of the hiring process and running a criminal background check on our client.
The background check revealed a bench warrant for our client for a 2012 public nuisance case out of the Torrance Courthouse. Our client realized he had gone to the wrong courthouse to investigate his case and that the officer had not just issued a citation to scare him.
The client then scoured the Internet and read that for such an offense, if convicted, he may have to register as a sex offender under Penal Code § 290 for life.
The client also read the case results on the Greg Hill & Associates website for public urination and called up Greg Hill to ask about having to register as a sex offender. Greg asked the client about the facts of the case and told him, no, he would not have to register as a sex offender with such facts and no criminal history.
The client then told Greg about the outstanding bench warrant and the need to have it set aside or quashed to preserve his new job. Greg explained that he could appear in the Torrance Courthouse the next day and ask the judge to recall the warrant and then, depending upon whether there was a ticket signed by the client in the court file or not, he could request dismissal of the case under a “Serna motion,” which Greg explained to the client, or request that the judge grant judicial diversion under a new program just started on January 1, 2021, under Penal Code §§ 1001.95 and 1001.96, which Greg also explained to the client.
The client asked numerous questions about how the process would work and then hired Greg Hill & Associates to handle his warrant and his outstanding case.
Greg Hill then did appear in the Torrance Courthouse the next morning and asked the judge to recall the bench warrant, which the judge did. Greg also looked at the police report in the court file and saw that our client had signed the ticket, promising to appear in court on a date in 2012, which undercut the support for a Serna motion being successful.
As Greg explained to the client earlier, since the client had signed the ticket, Greg requested judicial diversion for the client, which the judge granted, ordering him to six months of judicial diversion with an obligation to perform five hours of community service and stay away from the Hermosa Beach Pier Plaza area for six months.
If the client wished to “earn a dismissal” of the case, he would have to complete the terms of judicial diversion, which he seemed eager to do. He was more relieved to have the bench warrant recalled and preserve his job offer.
For more information about judicial diversion and public urination, please click on the following articles: