Our client, age 32, went to the downtown Hermosa Beach Pier Plaza area with his girlfriend for dinner and drinks after just as the COVID-19 restrictions were lifting. They had not gone out to dinner together in many months due to the pandemic.
They planned on taking an Uber both ways so they did not have to limit their drinking, in case they felt like having several drinks.
The two had dinner and then proceeded to American Junkie, where they had a few drinks and relaxed, watching other people and the sports on the flat screen televisions there.
At some point, our client blacked out and his girlfriend began throwing up, both from drinking too much.
The two had left American Junkie and Hermosa Beach Police allegedly observed our client and his girlfriend in an alley near 117 Pier Avenue, which is the Steak & Whiskey American Tavern, a new establishment. It was about ten minutes before midnight.
Our client was allegedly urinating in the alley. Police approached him just as his girlfriend began vomiting.
Our client admitted to urinating and asked police to let him help his girlfriend. Instead, police insisted on issuing our client a ticket while preventing our client from helping his girlfriend. This made our client angry, the police report noted.
Once police finished issuing him the ticket, they left and our client was finally able to leave Hermosa Beach with his girlfriend in an Uber.
They next morning, the client looked at the folded up ticket and saw he was ticked for “PC 372,” which he Googled on the Internet, learning “PC 372” referred to Penal Code § 372, “Public Nuisance.” The client read further, learning that such a code section on a ticket often referred to urinating in public.
The client read more, learning that punishment could be up to six months in county jail and / or a fine of up to $1,000. He was shocked that the offense was punished so harshly.
He scoured the Internet, reading more about public urination and how it was commonly prosecuted in Hermosa Beach.
He then called Greg Hill & Associates and discussed his ticket with Greg Hill. The client sheepishly explained that his memory of events was a bit hazy because he blacked out at some point, so his description of events was based on what his girlfriend told him the following morning.
The client had no prior criminal history. He worked for a well-known defense contractor in the El Segundo area. He was an engineer and had graduated from a prestigious undergraduate program. His girlfriend was also an engineer.
Greg explained how such cases were commonly handled in the Torrance Superior Court, where our client’s arraignment was scheduled about two months later. Greg explained how most misdemeanor matters arising in Hermosa Beach were handled by the Redondo Beach City Prosecutor’s office.
Greg then explained how the State of California legislature had implemented a new program called judicial diversion for most misdemeanor offenses and that a violation of Penal Code § 372 was certainly included within its provisions. Greg further explained how the program worked and what our client most likely would be required to do by the judge to “earn a dismissal” of the case.
Greg recommended that the client attend ten Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings prior to the arraignment to help show that the client was addressing his alcohol use issue and to help decrease the obligations of his judicial diversion.
Greg then appeared on the client’s behalf for his arraignment. The client stayed at work. The judge in Torrance called the case and Greg appeared on the client’s behalf and requested judicial diversion for the client. The judge asked about the case facts and the Redondo Beach City Prosecutor described what was written in the police report.
The judge then asked Greg about the client and Greg described the client’s profession, age, educational background, lack of any criminal record and that he had attended nine AA meetings prior to the arraignment (he did not attend ten).
The judge granted the request for judicial diversion and ordered that the client perform 30 hours of community service and obey all laws for six months. If the client did both these things, the case would be dismissed in six months.
Greg explained the terms of judicial diversion to our client, who was happy with this resolution. He was especially happy that he did not have to make a “donation” of $550 to the Hermosa Beach Nuisance Abatement fund, as was common in most public urination cases assigned to judicial diversion.
For more information about public urination and judicial diversion, please click on the following articles: