It was about 2:15 a.m. on a Sunday morning in downtown Hermosa Beach. Our client, age 21, had spent an evening with friends watching NFL games and then NBA games at American Junkie. He had enjoyed his new legal status as being 21 years old and able to buy alcohol, so he enjoyed quite a few beers.
He was waiting for an Uber to drive him home to the Carson area and was waiting along Hermosa Avenue, just south of Pier Plaza, near the Bank of America ATM machine. There were many cabs and Uber drivers there, picking up people.
As our client was waiting, he realized he needed to urinate and so he quickly stepped into the parking lot nearby (north of 13th Street) and found a spot somewhat obscured by the building. Our client believed no one could see him, but just as he began urinating, a Hermosa Beach police officer in a marked Ford Explorer SUV drove through the parking lot area where our client was urinating.
The headlights from the SUV illuminated our client and, as the police report stated, the officer observed “the suspect standing with his back to the officer, with his feet shoulder-width apart, with both hands near his groin area and a steady stream of urine hitting the ground.” The officer immediately parked his SUV and approached our client.
Our client was apparently cooperative and apologetic to the officer, who issued him a ticket for violation of Penal Code § 372, “Public Nuisance,” and asked our client to sign a promise to appear in the Torrance Superior Court exactly four months later.
Our client signed the ticket and received a copy from the officer. The officer then left in his SUV.
Once our client arrived at home and the lighting was better, he looked more closely at the ticket and realized he faced a misdemeanor-level offense for his urinating in public.
The client reflected on what consequences this might have for him. He was on a student visa and studying business at Marymount College in Palos Verdes.
He called up Greg Hill & Associates and spoke to Greg Hill. The client described what had happened to him and asked Greg what would likely happen in court. Greg explained how such tickets are generally handled in the Torrance Superior Court and how, starting on January 1, 2021, there was a new law allowing for judicial diversion of such offenses.
Greg then described what judicial diversion was and why this might be good for the client due to his immigration status, as no guilty or no contest plea is entered and if the client successfully completes diversion, then the arrest report and case file is sealed under Penal Code § 1001.95 and 1001.96 with the case dismissal.
Greg then suggested that the client attend ten or more Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings prior to the arraignment and give Greg a photocopy of his attendance log. Greg explained how to find an AA meeting and attend online through Zoom or Facetime. Greg stated some AA meetings gave attendees an email after the class verifying that the person did attend the meeting, but not all did so. Greg said that if the client did get such an email after each class, to save each one, print it out and attach it to the attendance log sheet.
The client then retained Greg Hill & Associates and attended ten AA meetings prior to the arraignment. He then e-mailed Greg Hill his AA log, with e-mails from each AA meeting he had attended.
Greg then appeared for the client at the arraignment in the Torrance Superior Court. The plea bargain offered by the Redondo Beach City Prosecutor (handling cases arising also in Hermosa Beach) was that our client could earn an infraction, to an amended count of violating Penal Code § 415(2), by making a $550 “donation” to the Hermosa Beach Nuisance Abatement Fund and pay a court fee of $10, plus penalties and assessments (or perform 77 hours of approved community service). Greg then showed the Redondo Beach City Prosecutor that our client attended ten AA meetings and the Redondo Beach City Prosecutor said she would strike the $10 court fine, plus penalties and assessments (or 77 hours of approved community service).
Greg commented to her that he appreciated the offer, but would ask the judicial officer to place our client on judicial diversion instead.
The case was then called and Greg requested that the judicial officer place our client on judicial diversion under Penal Code §§ 1001.95 – 1001.97.
The judicial officer agreed and asked the prosecutor to describe the People’s position and offer.
The judicial officer then stated he intended to place our client on judicial diversion for a period of six months with an obligation to make the $550 “donation” or perform 40 hours of approved community service. Greg stated he accepted the offer on the client’s behalf.
The client was later advised of this resolution and was very happy. He made the $550 “donation” the same day and then eagerly awaited the follow-up hearing six months in the future, at which time, assuming our client obeyed all laws, the case would be dismissed under Penal Code § 1001.95, which also obligated the court to order the arrest report and court file sealed. This would erase the record of the case filing from our client’s DOJ record, so it would not appear on his Livescan report.
For more information about public urination and judicial diversion, please click on the following articles: