Our client, age 32, was driving home to Torrance with a friend after going to a party in Downtown Los Angeles. As he was coming down the Harbor Freeway, traffic came to a stop in all lanes because of a traffic accident near the I-110 / I-105 interchange.
Our client’s passenger was dead asleep in the front passenger seat. Our client came to a full stop in lane one of the southbound 110 and within a few minutes, he fell asleep, too.
Our client was awoken by a CHP officer tapping on his window. Traffic had resumed flowing, but our client’s car remained stopped, alerting officers something may be wrong. The officer then detected the odor of alcohol and asked our client to pull over and off the freeway.
Our client did so and was found to have a 0.18% blood alcohol content (BAC). He was then arrested for DUI and taken to the 77th Precinct Station, where he submitted to a second breath examination and his BAC was 0.17%.
After being released, he contacted and retained Greg Hill & Associates. We resolved the case for a violation of Vehicle Code § 23152(b), driving with a BAC of 0.08% or higher. The client was obligated to enroll in and complete an AB541 (three month) outpatient alcohol awareness program, which he was allowed by the judge to do online because our client had moved back home to Maryland. For the DMV’s requirements, which is to do the class in person, our client filled out a 1650 waiver so he did not have to do the class in person in California when he lived in Maryland.
The client also had to attend the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) victim impact panel, pay a court fine of $390 plus penalties and assessments (total of about $1850) and attend ten Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings. He completed all tasks in minimum time.
About 17 months after the client had been on probation, our office contacted him to find out if he was interested in early termination of probation and expungement of the conviction.
A few months later, the client said he was interested in this, so the retained our office to prepare, file and serve the motion for early termination of probation. The client explained that he worked for an online learning academy, counseling students in Colorado and California via Zoom, but he was constantly anxious he would lose his job if his employer found out about his being on probation. The client wanted a teaching job with a county school district, rather than a private company, but he could not so apply while on probation.
The Metropolitan Courthouse then set a hearing date and time. Greg appeared for the hearing.
The judge assigned to hear the matter had been an attorney for about ten years and a judge for just two years. It appeared that he did not have any experience in practice as a prosecutor or criminal defense attorney. This can be good and sometimes bad.
The hearing itself took almost two hours, which was quite unusual. The Los Angeles City Attorney, an experienced attorney, took the ridiculous position that our client should serve at least 2.5 years of the 3 years of probation because this case was really like a second DUI for our client because in 2012, he had been arrested for DUI (that ended up not being prosecuted).
Such a ludicrous argument was perhaps good for our client because Greg was able to respond that no one knew the specific facts of the case, so it would be improper to guess what they were or assume that our client got some gift or windfall, or lucky break by not being prosecuted (although the DMV suspended our client’s license in that case, which the prosecutor did not realize).
The judge focused quite a bit on our client’s employment situation and Greg argued that in education, it is somewhat rare, but less so nowadays, for one to work in an education capacity in private industry. Mostly, employment is for a governmental agency and one cannot transition from private industry to a governmental job while on probation or having this conviction on one’s record. The judge seemed to like that point.
Greg also argued that our client was now 34 years old, not 22, so this DUI is more of an aberration in his otherwise law-abiding ways and that he diligently met all obligations within the deadlines despite being in Maryland, including getting a 1650 waiver so he could get his driver's license out there.
Greg also explained that you had 25 months of separation from the arrest, although just 21 months on probation.
The judge also seemed to like the argument that he did not have to require any period of probation really, which Greg argued under People v. Reyna Killion
, a Fourth Appellate District domestic violence case, that said even in a felony domestic violence case, the judge has discretion to end probation even after one year, so his acting on our client’s case after almost two years in a misdemeanor, first-time DUI would not be outrageous at all.
Lastly, Greg argued that without an end to probation, our client may lose his job, making it tough during these pandemic times, to find a new job while still on probation. The judge seemed to like that argument.
It was a long, tough hearing. Greg did not know how the judge was going to rule until the very end.
The client was very happy with the early end of probation. Our office then prepared the petition for dismissal (expungement), which was granted as well.
For more information about early termination of probation and expungement, please click on the following articles: