Our client had pled to a wet reckless (Vehicle Code § 23103 pursuant to § 23103.5) after being charged with DUI. The plea bargain to a wet reckless included a three-month alcohol awareness program (AB541) and a $390 fine, plus penalties and assessments, which boosted the total payment to the Los Angeles Superior Court to nearly $2,000.
Distilled Down: Long Beach, wet reckless conviction after a 0.23% BAC, probation terminated at half-way mark of 36 months, conviction then expunged.
It was a very good plea bargain due to the facts of the case, which suggested the Long Beach Police Department officer had pulled over our client without a reasonable suspicion that she had violated any Vehicle Code. She was pulled over about two blocks, or about 100 yards, after turning right onto Ocean Boulevard from Pine Avenue. The officer claimed she was speeding 50 miles per hour and weaving in her lane, but our client did not have sufficient distance to reach such a speed, commit “pronounced” weaving (the legal standard under People v. Perez
(1985) 221 Cal.Rptr. 776, 778), see the officer’s flashing lights and then respond by pulling over all within just 100 yards.
However, all defense attorneys who have practiced for any length of time appreciate how officers can take the stand to testify in court in opposition to a defense motion to suppress evidence and, miraculously, remember extremely important facts to add to the reasons for a traffic stop. Such convenient testimony will then “save” the traffic stop as legally proper and result in a judge denying the defense motion to suppress. This is quite frustrating for defense attorneys.
Our client, however, was offered a wet reckless if she did not file the motion to suppress. Greg explained the risks and the strength of such a motion. She agreed to the plea bargain, which included three years of summary, or informal, probation.
Being on probation (even informal probation) had meant our client was ineligible for promotion at her job and she did not want to apply for new positions within the company because it would mean the employer would run a background check first and discover her conviction and that she was on probation. Consequently, she was in a holding pattern at work, an employment purgatory, not making much money.
At age 37, she was looking to buy a home and invest in her future. This wet reckless was her first criminal conviction and she quickly paid the court fees and fines and promptly completed the AB541 program. She now just had to wait for probation to end.
Greg Hill & Associates had negotiated the wet reckless on the original DUI charges. Greg contacted the client one month prior to her half-way mark to ask her if she was interested in asking the judge to terminate her probation early. She said she was and explained why.
Governor George Deukmejian Courthouse in Long Beach
Greg Hill & Associates then prepared a motion to modify summary probation under Penal Code § 1203.3 so as to terminate it early. The motion included a discussion of how being on probation had caused her to feel like her career was moving forward with one foot on the gas and the other foot on the brake. The Long Beach judge hearing the matter granted the motion. Her probation was terminated at the 18-month mark, almost to the day marking the half-way mark.
The client was then eligible for relief under Penal Code § 1203.4, commonly known as California’s expungement statute. Greg Hill & Associates prepared the petition for dismissal of the case, adding to it a supplemental memorandum with a declaration from our client again laying out how having the conviction on her record remained a brake on her employment. The Long Beach judge hearing the case granted the petition.
The client was very pleased with ending this chapter in her life.
For more information about the issues in this case summary, click on the following articles:
- Is Expungement Worth It?
- What Does the New Law in 2015 Concerning Expunged Convictions Mean for State License Applications?.
- Why Is a “Wet Reckless” Better Than a DUI?
Watch our video about expungement by clicking here