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Criminal Defense Attorneys

35-Year Old Cited for Public Urination, Hermosa Beach

Our client, age 35, went down to Hermosa Beach from the Hollywood area where he lived to enjoy a different area.  He left with a souvenir he probably did not want.

He and his friend, both travel agents (our client specialized in tours to New Zealand), went to several bars, including Tower 12 and Baja Sharkeez before deciding to call it a night at about 1:30 a.m.  The two were walking back to their car, but became lost and found themselves down near the 1100 block of the Strand by Scotty’s, which was closed.
Our client and his friend then realized where they were and headed toward their car.  It was at this point that our client realized he needed to urinate, particularly before a drive back to Hollywood.  Our client then found a spot in the alley behind Scotty’s and urinated against a wall. 

A uniformed Hermosa Beach Police Officer on foot noticed our client urinating by how he was standing and where he had his hands placed.  Once our client finished and was fastening up his pants, the officer approached our client and asked him if he had been urinating. 

Our client answered, “Yeah, I’m sorry.  I really needed to use the bathroom.” 

In other words, the officer did not observe the violation of the law, which Penal Code § 836(a)(1) requires an officer to witness a violation of the law, subject to many exceptions not applicable here, before making an arrest for a misdemeanor.  This requirement, however, can certainly be waived by the suspect if he admits to violating the law, as our client did here.

The officer did not arrest our client, but he certainly detained him while asking for his identification and preparing a ticket for him for violation of Penal Code § 372 (“public nuisance”), a misdemeanor.  The officer completed the ticket and handed our client back his driver’s license and had him sign a promise to appear in court, which our client signed, and he was then issued the ticket.

The officer then left and the client stood holding the ticket, wondering what PC 372 meant and why the letter “M” on the ticket was circled.  His friend had no criminal history, like our client, so the two had no experience with this type of thing to even know PC stood for Penal Code.

After they made it back to Hollywood and our client got on the Internet, he understood more about the ticket and called Greg Hill & Associates.

The client explained what had happened in Hermosa Beach and Greg asked him a few question about whether the officer actually observed our client urinating and if our client apologized to the officer.  Greg explained how this was legally relevant in the context of Penal Code § 836.

Greg also explained how such tickets are handled in the Torrance Superior Court and how the client did not need to appear in court if he hired an attorney to appear on his behalf. 

Greg then explained how judicial diversion operated and how the Redondo Beach City Prosecutor’s office handled the Hermosa Beach cases for public urination and other misdemeanors.  Greg then described how the cases are often resolved and explained that instead of judicial diversion, the prosecutor may extend their own offer of informal diversion for a dismissal, usually with a shorter period of diversion than judicial diversion.

Greg also explained that the client could help his chances of having Greg negotiate lenient terms of judicial diversion or informal diversion from the city prosecutor by attending several Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings prior to the arraignment to show the client was making an effort to understand the effects of alcohol on one’s judgment (so he would not repeat the same conduct) and to show the prosecutor he was making an effort to merit lenient terms of diversion.

The client then retained Greg Hill & Associates.  The client then attended five AA meetings prior to the arraignment (not ten as Greg suggested) and provided Greg the AA sign-in sheet to document his attendance.

Greg then appeared on the client’s behalf in the Torrance Superior Court for the client’s arraignment.  The client stayed at work and did not come to court.  Greg discussed the case facts with the Redondo Beach City Prosecutor and showed her the client’s AA attendance sheet.

The prosecutor’s first offer was to reduce the charge to an infraction for disturbing the peace (Penal Code § 415) if the client made a $550 “donation” to the Hermosa Beach Nuisance Abatement fund and pay a court fine of $10, plus penalties and assessments (total would be about $200). 

Greg explained the client’s lack of any criminal history, his attending AA meetings and his respectful demeanor to the police officer and the prosecutor agreed to simply dismiss the case after our client made either a $350 “donation” to the Hermosa Beach Nuisance Abatement fund or performed 30 hours of community service.

Our client opted to perform 30 hours of community service and was very happy with this resolution of his case.

For more information about public urination, please click on the following articles:
Client Reviews
"Thank you so much for putting so much effort in this case. We really appreciate it and we are happy that all turned out well." S.A., Torrance
"Greg Hill did an outstanding job on every level. He was efficient, thorough, knowledgeable, courteous, responsive & brilliant. He welcomed my input and my concerns. . . from the first conversation to the last - I always felt 'it mattered' to him." S.C., Rolling Hills Estates
"Thanks again for your hard work. We want you to know that we are very appreciative of all that you have done [on our son's] behalf. With warmest regards." L.H., Torrance
"Dear Greg, Thank you again for all your help. Your professionalism and thoroughness is greatly admired. I will definitely recommend you to my friends if they ever need legal help." V.L., Carson
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