Our client, age 23, lived in New York and worked in New York City. He had never been to California.
However, he was issued a ticket for furnishing alcohol to a minor, a violation of Business & Professions Code § 25658(a). Apparently, someone had represented himself as our client, using (our client believed) our client’s lost driver’s license. Several months earlier, our client had misplaced his driver’s license and promptly obtained a replacement license.
This did not prevent someone 3,000 miles away in the historic Avalon Hollywood bar from providing alcohol to another person under age 21 and being cited for this by a police officer in the club. As the reader of this summary may be aware, the Avalon (the first place the Beatles played on the West Coast, in 1964, as well as the venue for countless famous musicians since 1927) does permit entry to those age 18 and over on certain nights.
When this takes place, undercover police officers prowl the nightclub handing out tickets for furnishing alcohol to a minor. Our office has represented many people cited for this offense at the Avalon.
When the suspect obtained the ticket, he most likely threw it away. However, about two months after the incident, our client received a letter from the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office notifying him that the matter had been referred to an office hearing. When our client received this letter, addressed to him based on the address on the citation from using the client’s driver’s license, our client called the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office to ask what this was all about.
The City Attorney’s Office explained that he had been cited for furnishing alcohol to a minor on a specific date about two months earlier. Our client responded that he had never been to Los Angeles, let alone the Avalon nightclub. The City Attorney’s office then recommended that our client retain an attorney to appear at the office hearing and explain the mistaken identity issue.
The client then used the Internet to search for an attorney in the Los Angeles area. He called up Greg Hill & Associates because Greg was a U.S. Naval Academy graduate and his uncle was a U.S. Naval Academy graduate, so he felt Greg would be responsible, competent and have a sense of urgency about the case.
Greg and the client then discussed the ticket and Greg suggested that the client provide him with documentation showing he was in New York City on the day prior to the event, the day of the citation and the day after. Greg asked if the client used an ATM card for purchases on a daily basis and the client explained that he did. Therefore, Greg suggested that the client print out his bank statement showing such purchases.
While Greg and the client were on the phone, the client accessed his bank records for the days Greg suggested and it showed the client purchasing a subway ticket (which he did to get to and from work each day), a few restaurant charges and a purchase at a coffee shop. The client then provided Greg with this bank record.
Greg also suggested that the client provide proof that the client applied for a replacement driver’s license after he lost the driver’s license, but the client was unable to provide this to Greg before the office hearing.
Nonetheless, Greg appeared on the client’s behalf at the office hearing and showed the Los Angeles City Attorney the client’s bank records from New York City for the day before the incident, the day of the incident and the day after the incident. Greg then explained that the client had lost his driver’s license before these days and had applied to the New York DMV for a replacement. The City Attorney agreed that the citation appeared to have been issued to someone who was using our client’s identification as his own.
The case was never filed, much to the client’s relief.