Long Beach, Disturbing the Peace Infraction Expunged
The client worked as an unlicensed engineer on a civilian repair boat that serviced the ships assigned to the San Diego Naval Base. The work often involved long hours, but it was a steady job and the pay was good.
After a drink or two, our client and his friends left one bar and headed to another bar. They then had two more beers at the second bar before leaving to go to a third bar.
As the group was crossing a street toward the third bar, a Long Beach Public Transit Bus was crossing in front of the group. It came to a stop for a red light right in front of our client, blocking their ability to cross the street. The bus was stopped fully over the cross walk.
Our client playfully banged on the side of the bus with his palms to let the bus driver know his location was blocking pedestrian travel.
A Long Beach Police Department police officer on foot patrol observed our client doing this and immediately asked our client for his identification. Our client believed the officer was joking, so he told the officer he would not produce it unless the officer first produced his identification, too.
This disrespectful approach was not appreciated by the officer who immediately spun our client around and handcuffed him. He then reached into our client’s pants and retrieved the client’s identification. He then had our client sit down, while still handcuffed, on the sidewalk, apparently concerned our client might run away.
Our client was handed a ticket for public intoxication, a misdemeanor, in violation of Penal Code § 647(f). Our client had to sign a promise to appear in the Long Beach Superior Court in about two months.
The client called Greg Hill & Associates and spoke with Greg Hill. The client explained what happened and asked what Greg thought would happen. Greg explained that it was possible that the prosecutor, who would be from the Long Beach City Prosecutor’s office, may agree to amend the complaint to allege an infraction if our client seemed to “deserve it.”
Greg cautioned that the police report would be given the most weight on this determination, but if our client attended ten or more Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meeting prior to the arraignment and gave Greg proof of attending such meetings, which could help. Greg also asked for documentation from our client showing he was employed.
The client then did attend ten AA meetings and gave Greg proof of this, as well as a paycheck stub to show his employment. Greg then appeared at the arraignment and saw that the complaint alleged a misdemeanor violation of Penal Code § 647(f), “public intoxication.” Greg then discussed the facts with the Long Beach City Prosecutor, who agreed to add an infraction-level allegation of violating Penal Code § 415(2) as Count 2.
Our client then entered a nolo contendere plea to Count 2, as agreed upon with the City Prosecutor. The original 647(f) charge was then dismissed. The terms of the plea bargain required our client to pay a court fine of $315 to the Los Angeles Superior Court, which he did the next week.
A year after the citation, our office contacted the client to ask if he was interested in expungement of the conviction. Our client did not respond.
A further year later, however, he called our office and stated he was interested in expungement. He stated he was interested in working for another company that paid more in salary, but he did not want to apply without first making his legal history look as good as possible.
Greg discussed this with him and explained that expungement would not erase or delete the record of the case having been filed, but it would restore the last plea in the case to not guilty and show the case was dismissed. Most importantly, expungement gave the client the legal right to deny he was convicted in this case.
The client then retained our office and we prepared, filed and served a petition to dismiss under Penal Code § 1203.4a(a), as applied to infractions. Under 1203.4a(a), the court must find (since an infraction does not involve probation) that since the time of the crime that defendant “has led an honest and upright life and has conformed to and obeyed the laws of the land. “
Our office included a short declaration from our client stating how he had lived “an honest and upright life” by continuing to work continuously since the conviction and had no further law enforcement contacts.