Our client, age 42, had immigration issues on his mind, but went to a party in Lomita. The client’s immigration concerns were based on prior convictions for possession of a controlled substance (Health and Safety Code § 11377), giving a false ID to a police officer (Penal Code § 148.9(a)) and discharging a harmful substance (Penal Code § 375). He had a work visa that was about to expire.
Before going into the party, he ingested some methamphetamine to make himself feel alert. He was a HVAC worker and often worked incredible hours.
In a Nutshell: Client goes to party and is under the influence of meth. He does not drink any alcohol. He leaves the party and drives into Palos Verdes, where he parks and falls asleep, only to be found by an LA Sheriff. Case resolved for DA diversion, 52 Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings and DUI dismissed.
Going to party was no party. The other attendees, mostly from Vietnam with similar immigration concerns in light of the newly elected Donald Trump as president, were all talking about being deported and this only made our client more anxious. However, he did not consume any alcohol. But the constant talk about being deported made him leave the party and drive up into Palos Verdes.
The client drove up Crenshaw Boulevard, away from the party, up past Silver Spur, up almost to the very top. However, he started feeling sleepy and so he pulled over on Crenshaw right before the intersection of Crenshaw and Crestridge. Before he knew it, he was fast asleep.
The client awoke to the tapping of a police officer’s flashlight on his driver’s side window. This startled our client and he took his foot off the brake, causing his car to roll backwards down the hill and into the front end of the Lomita Sheriffs vehicle.
Extremely embarrassed and worried about being taken to jail, he apologized profusely. His anxiety returned in full force when the officer asked our client if he had been drinking or using drugs. Our client admitted to ingesting methamphetamine earlier in the evening and the officer’s suspicions seemed confirmed by this confession.
The client stated he did not consume any alcohol (but the officer wrote on his report that our client admitted to consuming two beers). The officer then searched the inside of our client’s car and the contents of our client’s wallet, where he found a small quantity of meth (0.1145 grams) inside a folded $10 bill. The client admitted that this was his and that it was meth.
The client was then arrested for DUI and taken to the Lomita station, where he opted for a blood test. However, the laboratory only tested for alcohol and the results measured was 0.00%, just as our client insisted to the police officer.
The client was released on his own recognizance in the morning and immediately called Greg Hill & Associates. Greg spoke with the client and described what he thought might happen. The big issue was whether the police officer noted the client’s car to be running (which it was) and thus his arrest could be for DUI while under the influence of drugs. The next issue would be if the client also faced a charge for possession of a controlled substance and being under the influence of a controlled substance.
The client was sure that the life he had worked so hard to build in the U.S. was about to end with a conviction for DUI or possession of a controlled substance (as a second offense).
Greg then appeared in the Torrance Superior Court and was pleasantly surprised to see that the only charge against our client was possession of a controlled substance, as a misdemeanor.
Greg then negotiated a disposition under Penal Code § 1001.1 with the Torrance District Attorney handling the case in which our client did not enter a plea at all, but agreed to attend 52 narcotics anonymous (NA) meetings and the case would be dismissed. There was never a plea, so the disposition could not count as a conviction in the immigration court.
Moreover, under Penal Code § 1001.9, if the client successfully completes the one-year term of pre-trial, pre-plea diversion, the judge would issue an order under Penal Code § 851.92 to seal the arrest with the DOJ.
This was a very happy ending for our anxious client worrying about the immigration consequences of his arrest for DUI.