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Public Urination, Hermosa Beach, $350 “Donation,” Dismissal

Our client, age 22, had spent several hours at the American Junkie bar on the Hermosa Pier Plaza with friends from work.  Our client had graduated from a well-known prestigious college and was asked to meet some friends for drinks one evening.

At about thirty minutes past midnight, the group parted ways and our client called an Uber for his ride home.  As he was walking to the Uber pick up location just east of Pier Plaza, the urge to urinate arose and the client went back to American Junkie to use their restroom.

American Junkie would not allow him to re-enter just to use the restroom.

So, our client went across Pier Plaza to the Tower 12 bar and asked to enter the bar to use their restroom.  They, too, refused to let him in. 

Frustrated, our client went to the alley behind Tower 12 and found a cement wall that he believed was obscured from view.  He began urinating.  Just as he was finishing, he could tell there was someone standing behind him.

Our client’s sense that he might not be alone was confirmed when our client fastened his pants and turned around.  There was a uniformed police officer from the Hermosa Beach Police Department standing there, facing our client.

As the officer described in his report, he observed our client first from his vehicle.  He could see our client standing, facing the wall, with his hands near his groin area.  He then stopped his vehicle and could observe the splash of urine hitting the ground near out client’s feet. 

Our client explained that he urinated where he did because the bar would not allow him to re-enter to use the restroom.  
The officer issued our client a ticket for violation of Penal Code § 372, “public nuisance,” for urinating in public.  The officer had our client sign a promise to appear in court on the bottom of the ticket and left.  The client had agreed to appear in the Torrance Superior Court in about three months. 

The client wadded up the ticket and was still able to catch his Uber, he told Greg later when he called him about the ticket.

During the call, the client first explained to Greg what had happened and what his concerns were with such a conviction for his work if the employer were to perform a background check on him.  

The client then asked Greg if his punishment from the judge really would be six months in county jail and/or a fine of $1,000.  Greg responded that such terms of punishment would be extremely rare and that in handing perhaps 350 such cases over the last two decades, he had never seen such punishment ordered.  However, Greg commented, the judge did have the discretion to punish someone convicted of violating Penal Code § 372 up to such limits, but no higher.

Greg then explained that the most common factual scenario was very much like the client’s and that such cases recently were referred to judicial diversion and some were resolved through informal diversion with the Redondo Beach City Prosecutor’s Office, which handled the cases for Hermosa Beach.

Greg then explained what judicial diversion was and what informal diversion was and what the most common terms or requirements were.  Greg then explained that in requesting judicial diversion, his experience was that his clients often received less difficult terms of diversion if the judge was aware that our client had attended ten Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings prior to the arraignment, as most public urination cases from the downtown Hermosa Beach area late at night or early in the morning involved alcohol in some context.

The client then retained Greg Hill & Associates and attended ten AA meetings prior to the arraignment.  He pdf’d ten e-mails he received, one confirming his attendance at each AA meeting, into one single ten-page documents and emailed it to Greg the day prior to the arraignment.

Greg then printed out the document and brought it to the arraignment the following morning.  Greg discussed the case facts with the Redondo Beach City Prosecutor and showed her our client’s proof of attending ten AA meetings.

The Redondo Beach City Prosecutor was happy to see our client’s AA attendance and agreed to simply dismiss the case if our client made a $350 “donation” to the Hermosa Beach Nuisance Abatement Fund.  Greg agreed that the client would do so, so Greg asked the judge to continue the arraignment for two months to allow our client to make the donation and provide Greg the receipt to bring back to court.

The client was more than happy to know that because he attended ten AA meetings, he could have the case dismissed in exchange for making such a “donation.”

For more information about public urination and the issues involved in this case, 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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