Our client, age 25, was driving home from the downtown Long Beach bar area with her boyfriend. They had both enjoyed a few beers earlier in the evening, as well as a few shots of tequila. It was about 1:00 a.m. and Sunday morning.
Somehow, they became lost as they tried to find the 710 Freeway. The two were driving on Windsor Way, passing the Carnival Cruise Line entrance, when our client’s boyfriend told our client to turn into the cruise line parking lot. Our client made a quick right turn, but she turned a little too late and ran over a light pole just atop the curb. Our client later estimated that her car was traveling at 40 to 50 miles per hour when she hit the pole, which fell over.
Our client’s car came to a complete stop on the sidewalk area. A passing motorist called 911 to report the accident. Luckily, no one was injured and our client’s car had only moderate damage.
The Long Beach Police Department reported to the scene and asked our client about the crash. She admitted that she had smoked some marijuana earlier in the evening, drank two beers and had a shot.
Despite the client having experienced a car accident, police administered field sobriety tests (“FST’s”) on our client, which is improper, as it is well understood that after a car accident, one’s balance may be off for a few hours. Our client failed all the tests, at least according to the police report.
Our client also declined to submit to a preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) test, which is her right under Vehicle Code § 23612.
After leaving the hospital, but still within three hours of last driving, our client submitted for a blood sample at the jail. Her blood alcohol content (BAC) was later measured to be 0.208% and 0.212%.
After being booked, the client was strip searched at the jail. The police found a small baggie of marijuana in our client’s bra holding 3.7 grams. Our client had forgotten about the baggie and was told this was a violation of Penal Code § 4573(a), bringing contraband into a jail or prison, a felony.
Our client was nonetheless released on her own recognizance (OR) and she called Greg Hill & Associates the same day (a Sunday), hours later.
The client explained what had happened earlier in the day, that morning. The client did not know what her BAC was, as she had provided blood, which can take up to six weeks to measure. The client was a bit hazy on some details, candidly stating that she just did not remember due to the alcohol. The client mentioned the police finding marijuana in her bra, but Greg commented that such a small amount probably would not be charged as 4573(a).
The client thereafter retained Greg Hill & Associates. Greg went to the court on the date assigned for the arraignment and no case was filed by 2:00 p.m., so Greg left the Long Beach Superior Court with a proof of appearance.
However, a few weeks later, our client’s employer (Target) advised her that a bench warrant was pending for her from the Long Beach Superior Court. The client then advised Greg of this and Greg got over to the courthouse the next morning.
Greg was surprised to learn, once at the court, that the case had been filed the very same day that Greg had waited at the courthouse on the originally assigned arraignment date, apparently after 2:00 p.m. and after Greg had left.
Making matters even more surprising was that the felony charge of bringing contraband into a jail or prison was charged. The client then hustled over to the courthouse and, quite surprisingly, the judge in Long Beach set bail at $25,000 for the felony charge, but allowed our client 24 hours to post a bond. Punishment for a conviction for violation of Penal Code § 4573 requires a sentence of two, three or four years in state prison, although probation is also available.
Greg and the client then appeared in the Long Beach Courthouse the following day and Greg negotiated a resolution wherein the felony charge was dismissed, meaning the client did not have to post bail.
The client was placed on three years of informal probation with an obligation to enroll in and complete the AB 1353 program (the nine month program) due to her high BAC and the car accident, pay a court fine of $390 plus penalties and assessments (less credit for one day in custody) and attend the Mothers Against Drunk Driving victim impact panel (VIP), which costs $65 and lasts approximately two hours (and can be completed online).
The client was pleased with Greg’s sense of urgency and quick work to have the felony dismissed so she did not have to post bail, which would have cost approximately $2,100.
For more information about bringing contraband into a jail or prison, as well as DUI, please click on the following articles: