Our client was headed up to Mammoth to ski on a three-day weekend. It was about nine at night and he knew he was running behind schedule. As he came into the town of Mojave, he calculated that Mammoth was still a healthy three hours away.
He therefore decided to ignore most of the speed limit signs and move through the town of Mojave quickly. He was allegedly traveling at 55 miles per hour in a 35 miles per hour zone within the city limits. A police officer pulled him over and issued him a ticket for speeding.
In a Nutshell: Client gets speeding ticket in Mojave and then fails to appear in court, so he is also convicted of a failure to appear under Penal Code § 1320. Our office has the failure to appear conviction expunged under Penal Code § 1203.4.
The client then continued on his way to Mammoth, upset with the ticket, but more upset with the delay in his estimated arrival time to the ski area town.
The client then enjoyed a few days of skiing and forgot about the ticket. He therefore failed to appear on the date he promised to appear. Two years went by until he went to the DMV to renew his license and was informed that there was a bench warrant for him out of the Mojave Superior Court. He was told he needed to have the bench warrant lifted before his driver’s license could be renewed.
He therefore called Greg Hill & Associates and spoke with Greg Hill. Greg listened to the client explain the facts and warned him that while he might be able to have the bench warrant lifted without the client facing jail time, the client did face a possible new case for failing to appear. Such a new case would be under Penal Code § 1320 and it was a misdemeanor. Greg explained that this type of new case was unusual, but it did occasionally occur.
The client acknowledged this risk, but stressed he really was more concerned about having his driver’s license reinstated, so having the bench warrant recalled was the most important thing.
Greg then did appear in the Mojave Superior Court on behalf of the client a few days later. The client stayed at work.
As Greg had warned the client, the judge in Mojave was gracious enough to lift the bench warrant, but the client did face a misdemeanor charge for failing to appear under Penal Code § 1320. The judge was nice enough to dismiss the speeding ticket entirely, which helped the client avoid points on his license, but he instead faced a misdemeanor complaint.
The plea bargain offered from the prosecutor to resolve the misdemeanor case was a $100 fine, plus penalties and assessments, which totaled about $350, and the client would be place on one year of summary probation.
The client agreed to the plea bargain offered and Greg then returned to the Mojave Courthouse a few days later to enter his plea. The client then paid the fine associated with the plea bargain.
A year later, Greg contacted the client since his probation had ended. Greg asked the client if he wanted to have the conviction expunged and Greg explained the benefits of this, as well as the limitations.
The client agreed and Greg prepared the paperwork, which included a short declaration from the client explaining for the judge why he sought to have the case dismissed and his plea changed from “no contest” to “not guilty.” The declaration explained how at his job, he was limited in his ability to be promoted and receive higher pay with a conviction of any sort on his record.
The petition for dismissal also included a short memorandum of points and authorities that explained for the court what it could do to help our client under Penal Code § 1203.4 as long as our client was eligible, which he was.
The same rather tough judge in Mojave then signed the order for dismissal (expungement) for our client, relegating this messy chapter in our client’s life to a footnote.
For more information about the issues in this expungement matter, please click on the following articles:
- Is Expungement Worth It?
- Trial Court That Denied Expungement Because Petitioner Given a Five Year Joint Suspended Sentence Is Reversed on Appeal
- Expungement of an Infraction?