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Hermosa Beach, Public Urination Ticket, Donation, Dismissal

Our client, age 31, went out to the downtown Hermosa Beach area in the early summer of 2022, just as the bars and restaurants in the area were becoming less restrictive on wearing facemasks in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. 
He and his friends spent some time in American Junkie and then walked across the plaza to Tower 12, where they enjoyed the atmosphere and a few drinks.  At about 1:30 a.m., the group decided to leave to go home and they said their goodbyes. 

Our client contacted an Uber driver for a pickup and the driver said he’d be there in about five minutes.  As our client was walking over to the pickup area, he realized he needed to urinate.

As the reader of this summary may know, Tower 12 is located on the north side of the Pier Plaza.  Our client turned around and tried to get back into Tower 12 to use the restroom there, but the door locked behind him and he was not allowed in the front door. 

If one walks out the back door of the bar, heading north, one is on 14th Street.  Our client, seeking a dark place to urinate, out of view of others, walked toward the back door of the bar and found a suitably dark place in the shadows, near 13th Street and Hermosa Avenue.

Little did our client know, but as he unzipped his pants and began to urinate, a uniformed Hermosa Beach police officer was standing about twenty feet away, observing our client, as the officer knew the location was a common place for people to urinate on their walk from a Pier Plaza bar to the four-story concrete public parking structure north of Pier Plaza.

As the officer described his observations in the police report, he “heard the sound of a person urinating” and could see “liquid still dripping down the wall and into a puddle on the ground directly in front of where our client was standing.”  He then approached our client and asked him if he had been urinating.  Our client, the officer claimed, apologized and stated he did not think doing so was illegal.

The officer advised our client that doing so was illegal and asked for our client’s driver’s license to issue him a ticket.  The client cooperated and was handed a ticket for violation of Penal Code § 372 (“public nuisance”).  The officer asked our client to sign a promise to appear at the bottom of the ticket, which obligated him to appear in the Torrance Superior Court in about three months for his arraignment.  The officer then returned our client his driver’s license to the client and left.

Our client had no criminal history and was confused as to what just happened.

About two weeks later, he called Greg Hill & Associates and spoke with Greg Hill.  The client described what had happened and asked Greg how such a ticket was typically handled.  Greg explained how public urination cases were generally handled in Torrance and asked the client if he believed the officer actually observed him urinating, or if the client told the officer he was not urinating as the officer accused him.  Greg explained that this was important, as such tickets were often issued under poor lighting conditions and under California law, for certain misdemeanors (there are many exceptions), the officer must observe the violation to arrest someone. 

While our client was not arrested, he was detained and arguably, if the officer did not observe the violation (or the client did not seem to admit to the conduct), the detention would be illegal.

Greg then explained that regardless of whether the detention was illegal, such cases were commonly offered a form of judicial diversion or “DA Diversion” through the Redondo Beach City Prosecutor’s office (who handled the Hermosa Beach misdemeanors, with some exceptions).  Greg then explained to the client the terms most common in such resolutions, commenting that the client most likely would be required to make a $550 donation to the “Hermosa Nuisance Abatement Fund,” stay away from the Pier Plaza area during the term of diversion and attend ten or more Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings.  Greg also described how, in some cases of judicial diversion, the judge required our client to perform 40 hours of community service.

Greg recommended that the client attend ten AA meetings online (or in person if possible) prior to the arraignment and give Greg documentation of the meetings attended.  Greg then emailed the client an AA sign-in sheet to use and a link to the AA website to find a meeting near where our client lived.

The client then retained Greg Hill & Associates and attended ten AA meetings well before the arraignment.  He then e-mailed Greg a pdf copy of his AA sign-in sheet, showing the dates of the meetings attended and the meeting names for each meeting.

Greg then went to the Torrance Superior Court for the arraignment (the client stayed at work) and discussed the case facts with the Redondo Beach City Prosecutor.  Greg showed the prosecutor our client’s proof of having attended ten AA meetings.

The prosecutor seemed to appreciate our client’s initiative in attending AA meetings and offered to simply dismiss the case if our client made a “donation” of $350 to the Hermosa Beach Nuisance Abatement fund.  Greg continued the arraignment for 90 days to let the client make the donation.

The client was extremely appreciative of having the opportunity for a dismissal in exchange for making the $350 donation.

For more information about public urination, please click on the following articles:
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