Our client, age 27, was in downtown Fullerton from San Diego for a friend’s birthday party. He had not seen his friends since college and was excited to talk to them and enjoy the entire evening. He expected to drink more than would be legal to drive, so he prudently had a hotel room nearby.
The party’s last stop was El Matador bar in Fullerton on Harbor Drive. 2:00 a.m. arrived and the group disbanded. Our client went out the back door towards the public parking area bordered by West Amerige Avenue to the north, and was offered a ride to the hotel by a friend. Before getting into the car, however, he decided he needed to urinate and found a spot along a wall in the shadows where he believed no one would see him.
Where he was urinating was exactly where Fullerton Police Officers expected public urination and once our client finished urinating, he was approached by a uniformed officer who advised him urinating in public was illegal.
Our client apologized and explained he did not know this. The officer then asked for our client’s driver’s license and proceeded to write a ticket for violation of Fullerton Municipal Code § 7.110.010(a), public urination. The officer then handed the client the ticket and asked him to sign the promise to appear in the Fullerton Superior Court for the ticket.
The client signed the ticket and then the officer gave him a copy and then handed him back his driver’s license.
Our client then rejoined his friends, who had watched the police officer speaking to our client from about fifty feet away, curious as to what was happening. The client then explained to his friends what had just happened to him.
Once the client returned home to San Diego and he had the time to think about the ticket, he got on the Internet and tried to learn more about what the consequences were for such a violation. He read that a judge could sentence him to six months in county jail and / or fine him up to $500 plus penalties and assessments. He was shocked to read that there was such harsh punishment, so he called a few attorneys about the ticket.
He called Greg Hill & Associates and spoke with Greg about the ticket. He explained he had no prior criminal history and was a college graduate. He then described what had happened and Greg explained how such tickets are generally handled in the Fullerton Superior Court. Greg explained that the Fullerton City Attorney, a nice guy, would usually offer to resolve the case via a civil compromise.
Greg then explained what a civil compromise was under California Penal Code §§ 1378 and 1379. Greg explained that when a judge finds a criminal case can be resolved by payment of a sum to the victim, i.e., a person accused of graffiti can pay the owner of an area damaged by graffiti the cost of repainting the wall, the judge can dismiss the case if such a payment is made.
Greg then explained that while, in Fullerton, the client’s urine did not really damage the alley wall or the pavement, there nonetheless was some loss of value to downtown Fullerton by the odor of the urine and the decrease in tourist value to the area.
The Fullerton City Attorney therefore had agreed to accept a $350 “donation” from the suspect of public urination to a Fullerton Victim Witness Restitution Fund to pay those who are victims of vandalism, graffiti, battery, domestic violence and other crimes that take place in Fullerton. The client seemed skeptical of this, but said he understood and hired Greg Hill & Associates.
Greg then appeared in the Fullerton Superior Court on the client’s behalf and met with the Fullerton City Attorney, who offered to dismiss the case under Penal Code §§ 1378 and 1379 as a civil compromise if our client made a $350 donation to the Fullerton Victim Witness Restitution Fund.
Greg then walked down the hallway to the Fullerton Victim Witness Office, made a $350 donation on the client’s behalf, was handed a receipt for this donation and then brought the receipt back to the courtroom. Greg then showed the Fullerton City Attorney the receipt and the Fullerton City Attorney asked the judge to dismiss the case, advising the judge that a civil compromise had been reached. The judge then dismissed the case.
The client was very relieved with this result.
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