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Public Urination, Downey, Informal Diversion, Dismissal

Our client, age 32, went out for dinner and drinks with his brother and his fiancé.  The group went to a well-known Downey bar, the Lock & Key, where they enjoyed the atmosphere, made more appreciated after the long hiatus in going out during COVID-19 lockdowns.

The group finally decided to call it a night and headed back to their cars, which they had parked in the US. Bank parking lot across the street and up Downey Avenue.  It was common for people going to Lock & Key to park in the bank parking lot after hours.

The police were aware of this and how the parking lot often became a public urinal late at night, usually about when the bars closed, for those who decided to relieve themselves before a drive home.  When there was no rain to wash away the urine, the odor bothered bank customers using the lot the following days and the bank complained to the city.

On the early morning in question, our client was returning to his car parked in the U.S. Bank parking lot to drive home.  It was about 1:35 a.m.  Police were keeping a close eye on our client from an area obscured from direct light, so our client did not notice the Downey Police Department car nearby and he decided to urinate by a hedge along the parking lot border.

No sooner had our client assumed the stance that is common for a male urinating than the Downey Police car made its move toward our client.

The police officer who wrote the police report claimed that he observed our client urinating and could see a steady stream of urine falling into the bushes as he drove up.

Our client, a mortician, was mortified by seeing the police car approaching and immediately stopped urinating.  The police officer asked our client if he was urinating and our client, the report stated, apologized several times.

The police officer then parked his car and approached our client with a ticket pad.  He asked for our client’s driver’s license and our client provided it.  The officer then issued our client a ticket for violation of Downey Municipal Code § 4115 (urinating in public).  The officer then had our client sign a promise to appear in the Downey Municipal Court in about three months, which our client signed, and the officer handed him the ticket and returned his driver’s license.

The following day, the client called Greg Hill & Associates.  The client first explained what had happened and then how he was concerned primarily that the matter was a misdemeanor and a conviction for a misdemeanor might affect his employment.  He wanted the ticket dismissed.  He was worried he would lose his job.

Greg responded by explaining how such tickets are handled in the Downey Superior Court and how the Downey City Attorney handled such cases, not the District Attorney (which was under orders from Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon not to even file such cases). 

Greg further explained how the prosecutor commonly would reclassify the charge as an infraction and agree to resolve the case for a $100 fine,  plus penalties and assessments (total of about $550).

Greg further explained that as of January 1, 2021, there was a new judicial diversion law which permitted a judge to suspend proceedings in most misdemeanor cases (exceptions being for domestic violence, stalking, DUI and any misdemeanor which required registration under Penal Code § 290 as a sex offender upon conviction). 

Greg explained that the judge would dismiss the case after the defendant fulfilled certain conditions of diversion, which for a public urination case often would require a small amount of community service, attendance at Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings if alcohol was a factor, and staying away from the location for a few months, although diversion could last up to two years.

Greg told the client that he would request judicial diversion for the client to have the case dismissed, but that for the judge to order the client to easy terms of diversion (including perhaps no community service), Greg recommended that the client attend at least ten AA meetings prior to the arraignment and to give Greg proof of doing so.

The client then retained Greg Hill & Associates and agreed on the general plan.  He then attended ten AA meetings prior to the arraignment and gave Greg documentation of having done so.  Greg then appeared for the client at the arraignment at the Downey Superior Court.

Greg discussed the case with the Downey City Prosecutor and explained he would request judicial diversion.  The Downey City Prosecutor, in response to this and seeing that our client had attended ten AA meetings, agreed to simply dismiss the case in six months if our client stayed out of trouble and stayed one hundred yards away from the U.S. Bank, except for driving by the bank and not stopping.  This would not be too difficult for our client, as he had no prior criminal history and did not live in the Downey area.

Greg accepted this offer without needing to request judicial diversion from the judge.  The client was extremely happy he had attended the ten AA meetings, leading to making this resolution possible.

For more information about public urination and diversion, please click on the following articles:
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"Thank you so much for putting so much effort in this case. We really appreciate it and we are happy that all turned out well." S.A., Torrance
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