Our client, age 25, was out for a few drinks in downtown Fullerton amid COVID-19 restrictions being lifted after months of restaurants and bars operating at limited capacity. When this easing took place, many expected “catch up” activity, including a spike in all alcohol-related crimes, and our client proved such predictions were correct.
Our client may have had a few too many drinks in his zeal to enjoy himself. He was returning to his car in the parking lot behind Roscoe’s Famous Deli on Commonwealth Avenue when he realized he needed to relieve himself. He looked around for a place with shadows to hide himself and spotted a dumpster that he could hide behind.
He then walked over near the dumpster and urinated. A uniformed Fullerton Police officer saw what was going on and stopped our client from walking to his car after he finished urinating.
The officer then issued our client a ticket for “public excretion,” a violation of Fullerton Municipal Code § 7.110.010(a), and handed our client a copy of the ticket after having him sign a promise to appear in the Fullerton Superior Court for the violation, which is a misdemeanor, in about two months.
Our client, when reading the ticket, told the officer that he could not read the date written on the ticket for his arraignment and the officer assured him that he would receive a letter in the mail advising him of the date and time of his arraignment. The client then accepted the ticket, folded it up and put in his pocket. The officer then permitted our client to leave and drive home.
About three months later, the client called our office, explaining that he was ticketed for public urination in Fullerton and never could read the date of the arraignment, even when the officer issued him a ticket, but was assured by the officer that a letter would be sent to him in the mail giving him notice of the arraignment date. However, no one sent him a letter with the arraignment date.
Greg explained that such a letter is normally not mailed, as the signed promise to appear is considered sufficient notice of when to appear and such a letter would be redundant.
The client then explained what happened in his case and asked what would happen to him, as he had read on the Internet that a violation of Fullerton Municipal Code § 7.110.010(a) was punishable by up to six months in county jail and possibly having to register as a sex offender for life under Penal Code § 290.
Greg explained how, in his experience, such cases are handled at the Fullerton Courthouse, which often included a dismissal as a civil compromise under Penal Code §§ 1377 and 1378.
Greg asked the client if he had any prior criminal history and the client responded that he did have a prior conviction for DUI and a separate conviction for public intoxication (Penal Code § 647(f)), as well as driving on a suspended license due to a conviction for DUI (Vehicle Code § 14601.2).
Greg commented that while such a record suggested difficulty with alcohol, as well as the public urination case, the Fullerton City Attorney often did not investigate each defendant’s criminal history before offering to resolve the case for a civil compromise, effected by making a $350 contribution to the Fullerton Victim Witness Restitution Fund at the Victim Witness office within the courthouse.
The client then hired Greg Hill & Associates and Greg first reached out the Fullerton City Attorney as s courtesy to advise him Greg would be appearing on a specific date to recall the bench warrant and to ask that the Fullerton City Attorney bring his file for the client to court that day. Greg also confirmed the dates that the Fullerton City Attorney would be in the Fullerton Courthouse, as he normally only appeared one or two days per week and it was important that Greg avoid appearing when the Fullerton City Attorney was not there.
Greg then appeared on the client’s behalf and discussed the case with the Fullerton City Attorney who agreed to resolve the case via a civil compromise, which meant dismissal of the case.
First, Greg made the $350 donation to the Fullerton Victim Witness office and brought the receipt back to the courtroom to show the Fullerton City Attorney. The case was then called and the judge recalled the bench warrant. The Fullerton City Attorney then made a motion to dismiss under Penal Code § 1385 (“in the interests of justice”), explaining to the judge that a civil compromise had been reached.
The client was extremely happy with this case being dismissed.
For more information about public urination, a civil compromise and judicial diversion, please click on the following articles: