Our client, age 21, was found asleep and hanging over the railing by the outside patio of American Junkie at about fifteen minutes past closing time for the popular Hermosa Beach Bar.
It was a rather sad situation for our client, who had gone to Hermosa Beach while on two years of informal probation for public intoxication (Penal Code § 647(f)) for an incident about a year earlier. That incident a year earlier was actually his second such arrest for public intoxication.
In his first arrest for public intoxication, when he was 19, no case was filed, but he was held overnight in the Hermosa Beach jail and his fake ID was confiscated.
In his second case, he again had a fake ID, which was confiscated, but he was not charged with forgery or identity theft for the fake ID. However, he did accept a plea bargain and a misdemeanor conviction for 647(f).
In his third case, a Hermosa Beach police officer nudged our client awake and, once he awoke, had him stand up and walk over to a public bench in the middle of Plaza Hermosa. When asked where he was, our client correctly answered, “Hermosa.” When asked what day of the week it was, he answered “Lomita,” which is where he lived. When asked what time it was, he answered “28” and fell back asleep in front of the police officer.
The police officer believed that he was too impaired by alcohol to care for his own safety and well-being, which was probably true, and had him transported from Pier Plaza to the Hermosa Beach jail. He again spent the evening there, sobering up. When he was released, he again returned home to Lomita.
About two weeks later, his father, living in New Jersey, called Greg Hill & Associates and explained his son’s recent arrest. He described how his son seemed to be spiraling out of control with drinking too much, especially now that he was of legal age. He was mostly concerned, however, that his son would face a probation violation and serious jail time for his third public intoxication arrest.
Greg agreed with the father that the Redondo Beach City Prosecutors’ Office may recognize that trend of arrests, as well as the probation violation, as grounds for thirty, sixty or ninety days in county jail. Greg explained that sometimes, the Redondo Beach City Prosecutor’s Office could be surprisingly tough.
However, Greg also commented that the Redondo Beach City Prosecutor’s Office may not recognize that this case was a third arrest for 647(b) and think it was only a second such arrest. Moreover, if the client were to attend ten or more Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings, such a demonstration of seeking change in oneself may help tremendously.
The client’s father then had his son call Greg Hill and the client and Greg discussed basically, the same things. The client explained, further, that he had just been hired to work with a commercial plumbing company, so he did not want to suddenly miss a great deal of work because he needed to serve time in jail. He agreed to attend at least ten AA meetings prior to the arraignment, as Greg suggested.
On the day of the arraignment, Greg appeared on the client’s behalf with proof of the client’s employment and proof that the client had attended ten AA meetings.
The client’s father, despite Greg advising him that it was not necessary for him to be present at the arraignment, also appeared from New Jersey.
Quite fortunately, the Redondo Beach City Prosecutor did not realize that our client’s most recent arrest was his third for public intoxication. Instead, she thought it was his second, but was aware that he was on informal probation for his prior conviction for public intoxication. Greg then showed her our client’s proof of attending ten AA meetings and his paystub from work.
The Redondo Beach City Prosecutor agreed to a plea bargain with no jail if the client attended five more AA meetings and paid the Hermosa Beach Police Department booking fee. Moreover, she made the probation period just one year, not two, although he did have to enter a plea to misdemeanor 647(b).
The client was very relieved to have avoided jail time and was grateful that Greg had recommended he attend AA meetings prior to the arraignment and to give Greg his pay stub to show the prosecutor.
It merits mention in closing that a fair amount of luck in this case cannot be overlooked. Had the Redondo Beach City prosecutor looked into his criminal history, this plea bargain surely would not have been possible. It was luck and luck alone that the Redondo Beach City Prosecutor did not do this, as this particular city prosecutor is normally very thorough and meticulous.