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Spectator at Speed Contest, Compton, Judicial Diversion

While this summary is listed under driving offenses, our client in the following summary was not driving.  She was a passenger in a car allegedly being used in a street race in Paramount.

Officers from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Street Racing Suppression Unit responded to 911 calls of illegal street racing taking place at the intersection of Somerset and Orange in Paramount.  According to the 911 caller, there were approximately two hundred people standing around watching the cars race. 

It was about 1:00 a.m. on a Saturday morning in October 2021.  The COVID-19 virus was abating and people were cautiously getting out in public more.

Police were familiar with the area, as there had been street racing there in the past.  When police arrived at the location, they saw cars blocking off the streets leading to the intersection and saw, allegedly, over two hundred people standing near the intersection.  They said in their report that they could hear tires squealing and engines revving and that they could smell burnt rubber.

The officers also said they observed a car performing “donuts” in the middle of the intersection.  A donut, as the officer described it in his report, “is a dangerous maneuver whereby a car spins in a circular motion losing traction of the vehicle’s rear tires while the car spins, creating a cloud of smoke.” 

Officers then activated their overhead lights on the patrol car and the spectators began to quickly disperse.

Our client, age 20, was a passenger in a burgundy Dodge Challenger driven by her boyfriend, age 21.  Los Angeles County Sheriffs officers pulled over the car heading south away from the location because it allegedly had no front license plate, a violation of Vehicle Code § 5200(d).  The police report did not state that our client was a passenger in a car participating in the street races or performing donuts.

However, when officers pulled over our client and spoke with the driver, he admitted that he was at the street race watching the cars.

Our client had no prior criminal history.  She had graduated high school, but had not yet started college.  She was taking some time off.

Our client was cited for aiding or abetting a speed contest, a violation of Vehicle Code § 23109(b), as well as spectating an illegal street race in violation of Paramount Municipal Code § 10.48.010.  Both she and her boyfriend were handed citations and signed a promise to appear in the Compton Superior Court about four months later.

The client was confused and angry that she could be cited for just watching a street race in public.  She called Greg Hill & Associates and spoke with Greg about the ticket.  She described what had happened and how she received the ticket.  She also explained how she intended to apply to the College of the Canyons nursing program next fall and was worried that such a conviction would prevent her being admitted into the program.

Greg had experience handing such cases in the Compton Courthouse in the past and so he explained how he anticipated the case would be handled.  He explained that with COVID-19 and district attorneys being interested in minimizing trials that would require social gathering in the courthouse, possibly spreading the virus and creating a health problem, as well as the new judicial diversion law, he believed the case would be referred to judicial diversion.

Greg then explained what judicial diversion, describing how it permitted a judge to suspend proceedings for a period up to two years to allow a defendant to attend classes, perform community service, pay restitution (if any owed) and show an ability to follow a law-abiding life for some period of time to earn a dismissal of the case.  Greg explained that the value of judicial diversion was not just avoiding a conviction that could scar one’s employment potential, but that the case was dismissed with an order to seal the police report and the court file.  This meant that the record of the case being filed would be deleted or erased from one’s record like it never was filed.

Greg then suggested that the client attend an online traffic safety course now so she could help increase her chances of being offered judicial diversion, which Greg would present proof of to the judge when making his request for judicial diversion for the client at the arraignment.
The client then hired Greg Hill & Associates and did attend and complete the online traffic safety course.

Greg then went to the Compton Superior Court on the date of the arraignment, showed the judge the client’s proof of attending the traffic safety course and requested judicial diversion.

The judge granted the request for judicial diversion and said the case would be dismissed in three months if our client simply obeyed all laws for three months.  She had no affirmative obligations except staying out of trouble for three months.
The client was very happy with this resolution of her case.

For more information about street racing issues, 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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