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Criminal Defense Attorneys

Juvenile Adjudication for VC 10851 Reduced to Misdemeanor

In 1985, when our client was sixteen years old, his then also-sixteen-year-old friend suggested they go to a party a few miles away in San Fernando.  Our client agreed and his friend told him he would pick him up later that afternoon.  Our client lived in north Van Nuys at the time.

As planned, our client’s friend appeared later that afternoon, driving his mom’s car, and picked up our client.  The two then went to the party and left several hours later.

On their way home, they stopped at a gas station to put some gas in the car.  As they were doing to, a police officer noticed the two, who noticed the police and, according to the police, “acted very nervous.” 

The police decided to investigate.  The youths explained they were returning home from a party.  No alcohol had been served.
The police asked our client’s friend if his mom gave him permission to borrow her car and he admitted that she had not.

Police then arrested our client and his friend for joyriding, or taking the automobile of another with the intent to return the vehicle and without the intent to permanently deprive the owner of its possession (Vehicle Code § 10851(a), a felony).

Our client’s mom had not called the police to make a stolen vehicle report.  Our client and his friend were cooperative with the police, but they were taken to the San Fernando police station and kept in custody before being transported to the Sylmar Juvenile Courthouse a few days later.

The experience of being in custody was very scary for our client and he desperately wanted to do anything necessary to get out of jail, so he (and his friend) entered an admission to the felony petition alleging he, without consent, took the automobile of another (Vehicle Code § 10851(a)).  Our client was then released to home on probation (HOP) and then HOP terminated about a year later.

In 1996, our client again had a run-in with the law when he was arrested for attempting to purchase cocaine from an undercover police officer along a street known for drug sales.  Our client entered a no contest plea to the felony charge of Penal Code § 664 / Health and Safety Code § 11350(a), attempted possession of a controlled substance.

In 2020, with the coronavirus (COVID-19) and racial unrest seen in the highly publicized police murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, our client decided he needed to purchase a gun to protect his wife, ten-year-old daughter and his adult son living with him in Lancaster.

The client contacted Greg Hill and Greg listened to the facts of both cases.  Greg explained that each “conviction” (juvenile adjudications are technically not called convictions) was eligible for reduction to a misdemeanor and expungement.

Greg first addressed the 1996 attempted possession of a controlled substance conviction out of the San Fernando Courthouse, preparing a motion for reclassification of the felony to a misdemeanor under Penal Code § 17(b)(3).  After preparing the motion, Greg filed it at the San Fernando courthouse and served it on the San Fernando District Attorney’s Office.  The judge assigned to the case granted the motion, which made the client very happy.

Greg Hill & Associates then prepared a similar motion for the 1985 juvenile adjudication, which was a little more difficult because the case number for the client’s 1985 case was hard to find.  Greg personally went up to the Sylmar courthouse and spoke with several clerks before eventually finding the case number.

Our office then prepared the motion and filed it in the Sylmar Juvenile Courthouse.  The court clerk set a hearing date on the motion and Greg appeared.  The judge granted the motion and then asked the judge to order, under Welfare & Institutions Code § 781, that the police report and case file be sealed and destroyed.  The judge granted this request.

The client was very happy with this ruling as well.  He was eager to purchase a gun to protect his family. 

For more information about 17(b)(3) motions, please click on the following articles:
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