Our client, age 29, had been through a rough patch of sorts and decided to have a few beers at a bar. As he drove back to his home on the southbound 55 Freeway, he reached speeds nearing 120 miles per hour. It was about 2:30 a.m.
His speeding caught the attention of a Santa Ana CHP officer who tried to chase our client, but did not catch up to him until he came to a stop at the end of a freeway runway. The CHP report claimed to have paced our client at 119 miles per hour and that our client had reached speeds over 130 miles per hour.
The client, not seeing the flashing lights behind him, then proceeded forward when the light turned green and the officer quickly performed a PIT (pursuit intervention technique) maneuver to stop our client, who was only two blocks from home.
The client was then pulled out of the car and immediately handcuffed. He was then taken to the Orange County Jail in Santa Ana, where he submitted to a breath test. His blood alcohol content (BAC) was 0.09%.
Our client was then charged with felony evading arrest under Vehicle Code § 2800.2(a) and DUI, Vehicle Code §§ 23152(a) and (b).
Over an extremely difficult year, our office attempted to have the case resolved for mental health diversion under Penal Code § 1001.36, but this was strongly denied by the Santa Ana judge who said “well, then, every DUI could be resolved through mental health diversion,” as we argued that our client was suffering from severe depression after his girlfriend of ten years abruptly left him and he lost over $400,000 in a crypto-currency scam.
The district attorneys assigned to the case were not much better, never lowering their offer below two years in state prison for the evading arrest.
Eventually, we did resolve the case for 270 days in Orange County jail for the felony evading arrest and the DUI. Our client would then serve an actual 135 days.
When our client reached two years in his formal probation, our office reached out to the client and asked if he would be interested in early termination of probation and expungement. He was.
We filed the motion in the Santa Ana Superior Court and the court denied the motion for early termination, again in a very rude manner, even instructing Mr. Hill to leave the courtroom when he tried to argue for early termination, warning him, “Counsel, nothing you say is going to change my mind. This hearing is over. You are dismissed.” Such peremptory conduct toward an attorney was unprecedented in Greg’s 23 years of experience.
We brought the motion six months later again and the judge granted it, but this only shortened our client’s probation by six months.
We then brought a petition for dismissal (expungement) under Penal Code § 1203.4. Greg warned the client that while the judge seemed like he just had a strong personal dislike for our client and Greg, he also did have the discretion to deny expungement for a DUI.
Greg explained that in filing perhaps 100 requests for expungement of a DUI conviction, he had never lost one, but the Penal Code did allow a judge to deny such a request.
Under Penal Code §§ 1203.4(c)(1) and (c)(2), a judge may deny relief if the conviction is for certain offenses listed under Vehicle Code § 12810(a) to (e). Vehicle Code § 12810(b) specifies Vehicle Code section 23152, misdemeanor DUI, and section 23153, felony DUI.
However, section 1203.4(c)(2) states that the judge many exercise his or her discretion and act in the interests of justice nonetheless to grant expungement. Greg told the client that it was unlikely the judge would exercise his discretion to grant the request, however.
We then filed the petition for dismissal and the judge did grant expungement of the felony evading arrest conviction, he did deny expungement of the DUI conviction, although it was without prejudice, so the request could be brought again later, which we planned to do once this judge retired or was transferred out of the Santa Ana courthouse.
For more information about early termination of probation and expungement, please click on the following articles: