Our client, age 26, had been at a friend’s house, drinking during the day. It was a Monday and not a holiday.
She was trying to drive her black Jeep Grand Cherokee home through Lawndale along Firmona Avenue, near the intersection of Firmona and 168th Street. The driver in front of her in a white Toyota Corolla was driving very slowly, greatly aggravating our client. Our client finally, in frustration, passed up the other motorist and came to a full stop. She then put her car in reverse and pushed the accelerator to the floor, ramming the front of the other car with the rear of her car. Luckily, the driver of the other car, hit by our client reversing her car, was not injured.
Our client then sped away, hitting one parked car on the right side of Firmona about 100 yards away and then hitting a third car ran on the right side just a few feet further. She then tried to leave the scene before colliding with a fourth car on the left side a further fifty yards away, which caused her to come to a stop finally. No one was in any of the parked cars hit.
Several bystanders called 911 at the same time. The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department responded, sending officers from the Lennox station, as did the CHP. Our client was argumentative with the police officers and refused to submit to a breath or blood test.
Officers then requested a search warrant and took her to the hospital, where her blood was drawn by force. Her blood alcohol content (BAC) at that time, almost three hours after the collisions, was 0.19%, which probably meant her BAC at the time of the collisions and her last time of driving, was over 0.24%, or three times the legal limit of 0.08%.
It was especially sad for our client, as she had a pending DUI charge arising out of Redondo Beach, already in the Torrance Courthouse, also involving hit and run.
The client was released after posting bail and called Greg Hill & Associates. The client spoke with Greg Hill, explaining the facts of what had happened and asking how her case would resolve. At the time, the client did not know her BAC yet, as her blood was taken. Greg explained what the minimum punishment was for second-time DUI, but warned that an aggressive prosecutor might charge her with felony assault with a deadly weapon (ADW) for using her car to ram the other driver with her car in the first collision. Greg explained that such a charge was a strike and could expose the client to multiple years in state prison.
Otherwise, Greg also explained that ensuring restitution is paid to the owners of the other four cars damaged would be chief concern of the prosecutor and the judge, to which the client explained her insurance coverage. Greg explained how the client’s insurance for property damage might be exhausted, especially with her prior DUI with hit and run “spending” such insurance, so the owners of the damaged cars might have underinsured motorists coverage that would help them, but our client ultimately would face significant subrogation claims from the other insurance carriers to recover the insurance proceeds paid out to their insureds.
The client then hired Greg Hill & Associates and Greg immediately called the other criminal defense attorney retained by the client to represent her on her first DUI, which was still pending in Torrance Superior Court.
Greg then appeared and was happy to see that the prosecution did not charge our client with assault with a deadly weapon for her use of her car to back into the other driver.
Moreover, after several attempts to reach a global settlement of both DUI matters at the same time, Greg and the other defense attorney, along with the Torrance District Attorney and counsel for the City of Redondo Beach finally reached a settlement.
Our client agreed to plead no contest to a violation of Vehicle Code § 23152(b) and one misdemeanor count of violating Vehicle Code § 20002(a), misdemeanor hit and run. The other three hit and run allegations, as well as the first DUI count, a violation of Vehicle Code § 23152(a), were dismissed. Our client was placed on three years of informal probation for each case, to run concurrently. For both cases, a term of probation was that our client enroll in and attend the 18-month outpatient DUI program (called the SB-38 program), attend the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) victim impact panel and attend the Hospital and Morgue (HAM) program.
For the case involving Greg Hill & Associates, the second DUI, the client was further ordered to serve 96 hours in Los Angeles County jail for a second-time DUI and pay a court fine of $390, plus penalties and assessments (a total of about $1,950). In her first DUI, she agreed to pay an additional court fine of $390 plus penalties and assessments. In each case, the client agreed to pay restitution for the property damage caused by her in the collisions.
The client was pleased with the outcome, as there was no additional punishment for her hit and runs and she was able to have the SB38 program, as well as the MADD victim impact panel and the HAM program, count twice, once for each case. She also resolved the cases with the minimum jail time.
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