Our client, when age 34, was arrested after a traffic stop along the I-10 Freeway as he passed through Indio. As part of the traffic stop, the police officer proceeded to search the inside of our client’s car and found a few grams of cocaine. This was in 1994.
In 1994, possession of cocaine was a felony under Health and Safety Code § 11350(a) and our client was charged and convicted in the Indio Superior Court of a felony for possession of a controlled substance. He was sentenced to one year in county jail as part of thirty-six months of formal probation. At the time, when the client ended his jail time, he was only concerned with getting a job.
Fast forward 26 years to 2020 and our client was clean and sober for over two decades. He was married and without law enforcement contact in over two decades. He was a facility maintenance engineer and information technology officer for a large agricultural products company in Los Angeles County.
Our client was also had a general contractor license despite his criminal history, but what he really wanted was to start his own business and become an approved contractor for Los Angeles County and the State of California. Due to his experience working with a large agricultural products company, he knew how valuable such a contract could be.
However, his criminal history was barring him from that final step toward becoming an entrepreneur and earning a salary based on his hard work. He wanted to be the employer and not the employee anymore.
He called up Greg Hill & Associates and explained the facts of his conviction in Indio. He explained that he needed to have the felony reduced to a misdemeanor so he could be eligible to become an approved contractor for the County of Los Angeles and the State of California. The client explained that he had a second 11350 conviction for a felony in downtown Los Angeles and a third one in Long Beach Superior Court.
Greg discussed the facts of each case and confirmed that he could request reduction of the felony to a misdemeanor under Penal Code § 17(b)(3).
The client hired Greg Hill & Associates to handle all three cases, but this summary will just deal with the Indio case.
Greg Hill & Associates then prepared the Motion for Reclassification of a Felony as a Misdemeanor with a declaration from the client concerning the facts of the case, his progress after the case and his need for the reduction of the felony to a misdemeanor.
The declaration included exhibits that showed our client with his wife and his nine-year old nephew, which his wife and he treated like a daughter and with whom they interacted frequently. The declaration also included an explanation of our client’s ambitions of becoming an approved contractor for Los Angeles County and the State of California.
Our office then filed the motion by mail and when a hearing date was assigned, we served the district attorney’s office with the motion.
Greg appeared at the hearing in the Indio Superior Court. The judge was one that Greg had coincidentally appeared before years earlier and he not only granted the motion, but went further and ordered the conviction expunged under Penal Code § 1203.4, something our office did not even request.
Greg shared the news with the client, who was pleased with this because he had previously discussed his case with other attorneys who predicted the judge would deny the motion based on the amount of jail time ordered for our client. Having the motion granted was therefore greatly appreciated and then having the conviction expunged was a bonus.
It merits mention, for the reader’s perspective, that our office was successful in also having the felony conviction for a similar offense reduced in downtown Los Angeles and having the felony in Long Beach reduced to a misdemeanor, which was not expected because our client had been sentenced to sixteen months in state prison and did serve half of that time in state prison (prior to AB109 making such a sentence eligible for a county jail sentence).
For more information about Penal Code § 17(b)(3) issues, please click on the following articles: