In March of 2014, our client, then 32 years old, was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol. His blood alcohol content was 0.09%, or just 0.01% above the legal limit.
Approximately two months later, with the help of a public defender, he pleaded no contest to a violation of California Vehicle Code § 23103 pursuant to Vehicle Code § 23103.5, also known as a “wet reckless,” at the Metropolitan Courthouse at 1945 South Hill Street in downtown Los Angeles.
Counts one and two were dismissed under Penal Code § 1385 after the Complaint was amended to add Vehicle Code § 23103, as count three.
The terms of the plea bargain were that our client was sentenced to thirty-six months of summary probation, conditioned upon his payment of $390 in court fines, plus penalties and assessments (total $1,791) and enrollment in and completion of an approved three-month, AB 541 alcohol awareness class.
Our client then completed the AB 541 program and filed the proof of completion with the court in November 2014. He then paid the $1,791 in court fees and fines in February 2015.
In May of 2017, his informal (or summary) probation expired upon three years passing from the date of the plea bargain.
Due to pressing employment concerns, our client called our office to discuss expungement because his job duties included traveling overseas and to Canada and having even a “wet reckless” on his record made travel impossible or very difficult, depending on the country.
Greg and the client then discussed withdrawing his “No Contest” plea and dismissing the Complaint under Penal Code § 1203.4(a), which is better known as “expungement.” Greg explained to the client if the judge signs such an order, the order does not delete, erase, remove or make the record of the case having been filed “go away” off his record like sealing does, however, it did permit the client to legally state he was not convicted of violating Vehicle Code § 23103, with certain exceptions.Metro Courthouse
The client understood and stated he wished to proceed.
Our office then sent the client a list of about ten questions that he answered and sent back to our office. We then prepared the petition for dismissal and added a supplemental memorandum with a declaration from the client, explaining how he, now age 39, has shown that he is committed to turning his life around and living in a positive, productive direction. The declaration explained how he has lived a stable life since this conviction. It stated how he has worked hard and resolved never to make the kinds of mistakes that led to the conduct at issue. It stated he was dedicated to continuing his life in a productive way with continued secure employment with his household-name employer (which will remain anonymous for purposes of this summary), where he held a senior executive position that required travel outside the United States.
The declaration and the supplemental memorandum stated he needed to travel overseas to keep his job to supply for his wife and dogs. The petition included photographs of his wife and their dogs.
He then described how having a wet reckless conviction was causing a crippling impact on his professional life. Not only was he missing advancement opportunities, but he might be subject to a routine background check, which would reveal his conviction and consequently, he could be terminated. He had worked extremely hard to build his reputation in his community as a responsible citizen and he did not want this conviction to ruin his goals and life.
Our client stated in his declaration that he did not realize when he entered his plea in May 2014 that a conviction like this would impact his life to such a degree that he would be barred from work assignments or be in jeopardy of losing his job.
Our office then filed the petition for dismissal judicial council form with a supplemental memorandum and a declaration from our client stating the above facts. Our office also served the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office on the fifth floor of the Metropolitan Courthouse building.
The judge signed the order without even a hearing, setting aside out client’s earlier no contest plea and dismissing the complaint (expungement). Our client was very happy, knowing now that he could grow again in his employment and earn more money for his family.
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