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Public Intoxication, Registered Nurse, Reduced to 415(2)

Our client, age 29, went to the Bullpen, a popular bar and restaurant in the South Redondo / Torrance area on Avenue I and Catalina Avenue.  It is known for its steaks and dark interior.  It has operated for over 40 years.

Our client was a registered nurse (RN) who worked at the local hospital.  She was with two friends, a married couple.  During the course of the evening, our client’s friend frankly discussed her marriage with our client, confiding that her husband regularly beat her.  Our client drank several glasses of wine during the evening.

This greatly disturbed our client, so much so that she finally decided to call 911.  When she did so, she was very drunk.  Nonetheless, the Torrance Police Department responded to the Bullpen, expecting to find a domestic violence situation.  Instead, our client walked up to the police and told them that her friend was a victim of domestic violence, but not this particular evening.

The police were upset with this type of call and felt they could not arrest the husband for something her wife told our client happened sometime in the past.  The police told our client that they could not arrest the man, which greatly upset our client, who was obviously drunk by this point.

image descriptionBullpen

Our client responded to the police decision by telling them they were assholes and, allegedly, that she knew the chief of the Torrance Police was Natalie Portman’s dad (which is not true).  Our client was very frustrated and kept telling the police to arrest the husband.

At this point, our client’s friend and her husband has left the bar, so when the police finally agreed to speak to the alleged victim, the alleged victim and her husband were no where to be found.  This made the police conclude that our client was “so intoxicated that she could no longer care for her own safety and well-being.”  They therefore arrested her for violation of Penal Code § 647(f), public intoxication.

Our hunch is that the arrest was heavily influenced by our client calling the police assholes and her further cursing of them.

The client was held at the Torrance Police Station and released after her parents posted bail the following morning.

The client knew that an arrest for a misdemeanor would be harmful to her license as a registered nurse (RN) and possibly lead to her being fired from the local hospital if her RN license was suspended.
She called Greg Hill & Associates and immediately met with Greg Hill.  Greg had the client describe what had taken place and agreed that the professional licensing issue was of greatest urgency.  Greg recommended that the client attend at least ten Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings, write a letter of apology to the Torrance Police Department and send him her resume, a photocopy of her RN license and any award she may have received as an RN.

The client did so, attending ten AA meetings within a week.  She also provided Greg her RN license and her resume, as well as a letter of apology to the Torrance Police Department.

Greg then wrote a letter to the Torrance Police Department and the Torrance City Prosecutor, enclosing such items and suggesting that the matter be resolved with a pre-filing office hearing, rather than the filing of a criminal case.

Neither the Torrance Police Department nor the Torrance City Prosecutor responded to Greg’s letter prior to the arraignment.  Greg therefore appeared at the Torrance Superior Court for the arraignment only to find the Torrance City Prosecutor was charging our client with a violation of Penal Code § 647(f) as a misdemeanor.

Greg then spoke with the Torrance City Prosecutor again about the case, who commented that she had not seen the pre-filing letter.  She then looked through the documents and then the police report, discussing it with Greg.  She then stated she would be willing to amend the complaint to allege an added charge, an infraction for violating Penal Code § 415(2), disturbing the peace by making a loud noise, if the client attending 26 AA meetings, or sixteen more such meetings.

Greg then relayed the offer to the client, who was greatly relieved.  This was great news for our client, as a misdemeanor violation for a crime relating to abuse of alcohol was highly problematic for a nurse, but an infraction for something else was not nearly so difficult to explain to the Nursing Board.  She then attended sixteen more AA meetings and the case indeed was resolved as an infraction.

For more information about public intoxication and professional licensing issues with a misdemeanor, please click on the following articles:
  1. What Punishment Do I Face for Public Intoxication (PC 647(f))?
  2. What Is the Difference Between an Infraction and a Misdemeanor?
  3. Effects of a Prostitution Conviction on a Dentist’s License?
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