Our client, age 31, worked full-time at a prestigious employer, but also walked dogs for a few extra dollars on weekends. It was enjoyable and she liked the extra income. She had graduated from a prestigious East Coast University and had worked in New York City for a Fortune 500 company for several years. She then moved to Los Angeles for an even better job.
On one particular weekend, she had been out in Manhattan Beach with co-workers the prior evening and had consumed an enormous amount of alcohol. She made it home safely and was able to sleep a few hours before having to walk a client’s dogs the next morning.
She was badly hungover, but drove her car to where she thought her client lived in El Segundo. She was nauseous, but figured she would feel better once she started walking the dogs.
The client always left her front door unlocked, so after our client parked her car, she walked up to the house she thought was the client’s and opened the front door. It opened and she walked in, only to find an older lady sitting at her kitchen table drinking coffee.
The older lady asked our client what she was doing in her house. Our client immediately apologized and explained that she was there to walk her client’s dogs, but she had obviously entered the wrong house. Our client was sweating profusely and looked panicked.
The older lady, suspecting that our client was lying and was really there to burglarize her house, called the El Segundo Police Department, who arrived at the location within a few minutes. Our client was outside, looking at her phone and trying to find the correct address for her dog walking client.
The older lady directed the police to our client, who then spoke with her and immediately suspected she was under the influence of a controlled substance. Our client was shaking from the hangover.
Officers called for an ambulance, which then arrived and took her to a hospital for acute alcohol poisoning. Our client was rehydrated and stayed there for about sixteen hours before being released and cited for trespassing, Penal Code § 602(m). She signed a promise to appear in the Airport Courthouse about two months later.
The client was very anxious about this and had obviously discussed this with her mother in New Jersey. The mom called Greg Hill & Associates and discussed the case with Greg. Greg explained that the client might also be charged with public intoxication (Penal Code § 647(f)), as she clearly was under the influence of alcohol, although her BAC might have been much lower than earlier in the evening.
After Greg spoke with the mom, the client called and explained that all the facts she learned about the incident were just from what officers told her hours later, as she remembered nothing independently because she was blacked out from the alcohol.
Greg then explained how the court would most likely handle such a case. Greg explained judicial diversion and recommended that the client attend at least ten Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings prior to her arraignment.
Greg also commented that he thought the Airport District Attorney’s Office may reject the case for filing because there did not seem to be any significant crime. The client was simply hungover and made a mistake by walking into the wrong house with no intent to annoy or stay inside the house. After all, our client apologized immediately and then sat outside the house trying to find the correct address for her client. Such mistakes happen, but they are not caused by a criminal mindset (“mens rea”). Our client had no intent to do anything wrong.
When the arraignment arrived, our office asked the client to provide our office with proof of having attended ten AA meetings. The client had not attended even one.
Greg then went to the Airport Courthouse for our client’s arraignment. When Greg got there, he did not see the client’s name listed among the hearings set for the day, so he went to the criminal clerk’s office to double-check that no case had been filed. The clerk’s office confirmed this. Greg then “triple-checked” for a filing by going to the Airport Courthouse District Attorney’s office, who advised that the case was a DA reject, as Greg had told the client was certainly possible if the police reported the incident accurately.
The client was happy with this. Greg then explained the process of having the police report and arrest record sealed under Penal Code §§ 891.91 and 891.92, if the client was interested in having the record deleted from her Department of Justice (DOJ) history, as reported on various background reports, including Livescan.
For more information about public intoxication and trespassing, please click on the following articles: