Our client, age 29, went to the downtown Fullerton restaurant and bar area for Cinco De Mayo. Our client had no prior criminal convictions, but he did have a pending DUI case at the Westminster courthouse. He had graduated college, secured a steady job after graduation and then was laid off during the COVID-19 epidemic and was unemployed. His life was in chaos.
He ventured to the Fullerton bar scene by Uber to relax, as the bars were serving alcohol, albeit with social distancing. He had to use Uber because his driver’s license was suspended. He met some friends from high school there and one drink turned to two drinks, which turned to three and then four. He lost track of time, but as his friends started leaving about midnight, our client decided to also leave and catch an Uber back home.
As he was leaving Heroes Bar, he realized he needed to urinate before waiting in the area for his Uber driver and getting in the Uber to go home to Santa Ana, a good 20 minutes away.
He spotted a bush just outside Heroes Bar and decided to make it his urinal. He looked around and did not see anyone who could see what he was about to do.
However, our client was six feet, five inches tall, so being inconspicuous was relatively difficult. He was not five foot, three inches tall.
A uniformed Fullerton police officer walking the streets spotted our client and walked toward him while our client’s back was turned to him. According to the truly short police report, when the officer reached our client, “a steady stream of liquid was observed splattering on the ground from our client’s waist area.” In other words, the officer saw our client urinating.
When the client finished and zipped up his pants, he turned around to be face-to-face with the police officer. Our client was surprised and knew he was about to receive a ticket or even be arrested.
The officer asked our client if he was peeing into the bush and our client, according to the police report, admitted with was so and apologized. The officer then asked for our client’s driver’s license, which our client did not have, but provided him another form of ID.
The officer then completed a ticket for our client’s violation of Fullerton Municipal Code § 7.110.010(a), “Urinating or Defecating in Public.” The police officer circled “M” on the ticket next to where the code section was written, under “Offense Level.” The alternative was “I,” which our client understood to be infraction and M stood for misdemeanor.
The client was asked to sign a “Promise to Appear” on the bottom area of the ticket and did so, promising to appear in the Fullerton Superior Court in late June 2021. The officer then handed our client a white copy of the ticket and left.
Our client was shocked and ashamed. He had the pending DUI already and now it appeared as if he had a second criminal case about to start. He then found his Uber driver and rode home.
About two months later, the client called Greg Hill & Associates and spoke with Greg Hill about the ticket. The client first asked, “how much is the fine?” The client apparently regarded the ticket as something akin to a parking ticket which could just be paid for and forgotten.
Greg explained that there was no standard fine or even other punishment, however, he had represented over twenty people on such tickets in the Fullerton Courthouse over the years. Greg explained that a violation of 7.110.010(a) was a misdemeanor, meaning a judge could sentence one found in violation of this code section to up to six months in county jail and a fine of up to $500, plus penalties and assessments. Greg commented that such a sentence would be exceedingly rare and would have to involve exacerbating circumstances in aggravation.
Greg then explained that most cases he had handled in Fullerton were dismissed after a civil compromise had been reached, wherein the client would make a $350 “donation” to the Fullerton Victim Witness Emergency Fund and the Fullerton City Attorney, upon seeing the receipt showing such a payment, would then dismiss the case in the interests of justice.
Greg added, in his explanation, that the Fullerton City Attorney usually did not consider the client’s criminal history, which would be particularly good for our client with a pending DUI matter.
The client then retained Greg Hill & Associates and Greg appeared for the client at the arraignment in the Fullerton Superior Court. Greg discussed the case briefly with the Fullerton City Attorney, who agreed to resolve the case via a civil compromise (under Penal Code §§ 1377 and 1378 this is permitted) if our client made a $350 “donation” to the Fullerton Victim Witness Emergency Fund. Greg then did so and the judge, in calling the case, granted the Fullerton City Attorney’s motion to dismiss.
The client was quite happy with this resolution.
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