Compton, Bench Warrant Since 2005, Case Dismissed in 2015
Summary: 2005 case for driving on suspended license due to a DUI and failure to stop at a stop sign, client fails to show in court, bench warrant until 2015, case dismissed.
Compton Superior Courthouse
After about a year in federal prison, he was told of the open case in Compton and placed in solitary confinement, according to his family that called Greg Hill & Associates to see what could be done.
Greg Hill listened to the family and immediately knew that Vehicle Code § 41500(a) would apply. This Vehicle Code section permits a judge to dismiss a case arising out of operation of a motor vehicle when someone is under the custody of the Department of Corrections or the Department of Youth Authority. The key here was that since our client was in federal prison and not state prison, he was not under the custody of the Department of Corrections.
Instead he was under the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, so section 41500 might not apply unless the prosecutor did not understand this distinction and simply agreed to dismiss the case.
Greg explained this to the client’s family, who provided Greg with ample documentation that their son was under the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Greg explained that he would have to be careful in how he approached the prosecutor and judge so that he could seek dismissal either under 41500(a) if the prosecutor was willing to dismiss the case anyways, or under People v. Serna, which allows a judge to dismiss a misdemeanor case when there has been a violation of a defendant’s right to a speedy trial.
Greg explained that the “Serna route” was legally stronger, but more complicated. However, application of 41500(a) might seem easier to a young prosecutor who was not familiar with the code section.
Greg thus went to court and had the matter placed on calendar. He approached the very young female district attorney in the courtroom, introduced himself and briefly explained the case. Greg explained that the client was in federal prison. He then asked the prosecutor is she would be willing to dismiss the case under Vehicle Code § 41500(a). She was not familiar with the code section at all, so she looked it up and read it over.
She responded that she would indeed ask the judge to dismiss the case. The judge then called the matter and the young prosecutor asked the judge to dismiss the case in the interests of justice, under Penal Code § 1385 “because the defendant is now in prison.”
The judge agreed and dismissed the case. The client’s family was very happy, as was the client.
For more information about bench warrants and the right to a speedy trial, click on the following articles:
- Do Warrants Expire?
- Did the Prosecution Violate Your Sixth Amendment Right to a Speedy Trial?
- Arrested for Misdemeanor DUI in January, 2011; Arraigned in February, 2013; Is Defendant’s Right to Speedy Trial Violated?