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Criminal Defense Attorneys

Bench Warrant, Public Urination Santa Monica, Airport Court

Our client, age 28, took a vacation in the early summer of 2021 from Florida to Los Angeles to visit with a friend of his from high school.  Our client was a nurse in Florida and doing well in life.

One night jeopardized all of this.  The two friends went out to the bars in Santa Monica near the Third Street Promenade and had a bit too much to drink.

As the two were walking from the Dudes Brewing Company bar to the Misfit Bar, our client stopped to urinate by a bush.  Just as he was doing so, a Santa Monica police car drove by and the officer inside apparently recognized our client’ stance as indicating he was urinating.  The officer stopped the car and issued our client a ticket for violation of Santa Monica Municipal Code § 5.08.110(D), public urination. 

The officer asked our client to sign a promise to appear in court at the Los Angeles Airport Courthouse on La Cienega Boulevard in lieu of being arrested.  Our client signed the promise to appear, was handed the ticket and the officer left.

Our client and his friend then went on their way and our client later returned to Florida.  He completely disregarded the ticket, assuming that it was an infraction subject to a small fine, perhaps $35, such as is common with a parking ticket.

Our client had no idea it was a misdemeanor and capable of causing his employer, a large hospital, of being involved.

However, that is exactly what did happen.  When our client failed to appear for his arraignment at the Airport Courthouse, the judge assigned to the case issued a bench warrant, which was then entered on our client’s criminal history.  The client’s employer then noticed this in mid-summer 2022 when doing a routine background check on our client and notified him that his employment would be suspended if he failed to resolve the bench warrant.

The client was shocked that this “mere ticket” was regarded as such an important issue, let alone that public urination was a misdemeanor subject to jail time and a fine up to $500, and complained to his father, who then called Greg Hill & Associates.

The father explained to Greg what his son was facing and explained the underlying facts leading up to the ticket.  Greg explained how he could appear in the Airport Courthouse to have the bench warrant recalled and then, since more than a year had passed since the ticket was issued, it was possible to ask the judge to dismiss the case if the client never signed a promise to appear in court.  Such a request would be based upon the Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial under Serna v. Superior Court (1985) 40 Cal.3d 239, 219 Cal.Rptr. 420, 707 P.2d 793 and Barker v. Wingo (1972) 407 U.S. 514, 530, 92 S.Ct. 2182, 33 L.Ed.2d 101. 

However, if the client had signed a promise to appear, no such request could be made because the request may be interpreted as our client asking to be rewarded for violating his promise to appear.

Greg also explained that if the client had signed the promise to appear, then the case would most likely resolve with a form of judicial diversion or “DA Diversion,” wherein the prosecutor would make an offer of informal diversion with terms that if the client fulfilled, the case would be dismissed or reduced to an infraction.  Greg also explained how judicial diversion operated under Penal Code §§ 1001.94 and 1001.95.

The client then hired Greg Hill & Associates.  Greg Hill then appeared in the Airport Courthouse the next morning and had the bench warrant recalled.

Greg spoke with the Santa Monica City Attorney assigned to the case, who offered our client a dismissal of the case if he performed 20 hours of community service in Florida at any recognized nonprofit organization such as a Boys & Girls Club, the Salvation Army, the Red Cross or Habitat for Humanity.

The client and his father were happy with having the bench warrant recalled and the offer of a dismissal.

For more information about the issues involved in this case summary, 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
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