Our client, age 28, was driving home through Inglewood at about 10:30 p.m. on July 4th on Imperial Avenue. Traffic was stop and go because many people were walking in the street, shooting off fireworks. Many were drinking in public and obviously intoxicated. It was a chaotic scene, punctuated by the sound of firecrackers exploding every few seconds.
Our client had his windows rolled up because he feared someone might shoot a firecracker into his car just to scare him. Some of the pedestrians tapped on his car as they walked by, in the lanes of traffic.
Our client had consumed a beer or two, but he felt safe to drive. He had suffered a conviction for DUI eight years earlier in 2013 at the Airport Courthouse and a second one for a “wet reckless” just weeks later in the Torrance Superior Court, so he was aware of the danger of DUI.
As traffic decreased and the pedestrians on the road seemed to disappear, our client was able to drive closer to a normal speed. Suddenly, a car alongside the curb pulled into traffic and bumped into our client’s car, pushing our client into the raised concrete center divider and causing our client to come to a stop.
Our client got out of the car and began yelling at the other driver, who had also stopped. Our client told him he was an idiot and needed to be more careful in driving. The other driver told our driver that our driver was going too fast and it was his fault. The two then began fighting on the street and soon, two more people jumped into the fight to beat up our client.
A woman then intervened and told the men to stop fighting and they did. She told the men that our client had hit her eleven year-old boy several blocks earlier and she wanted the man arrested, not the others arrested for beating our client up.
Our client told the mother that he did not hit her son and that she was making this story up.
The Inglewood Police Department then arrived and arrested our client. One of the officers there wrote in his report that our client smelled of alcohol and appeared to be quite drunk, but the officers took our client to the hospital for his bleeding scalp and other head wounds first and foremost. A photograph of our client taken at the hospital shows his head wrapped in a large bandage.
As a consequence of our client being beaten up at the scene and sustaining head injuries, the Inglewood police officers did not conduct a DUI investigation.
However, after the client was released from the hospital, our client was taken to the Inglewood Police Department, where he was booked for a third-time DUI (Vehicle Code § 23152(a)), misdemeanor hit and run (Vehicle Code § 20001(b)(1)) of the child (who sustained scratches to his left arm, nose and forehead), driving on a license suspended for a DUI (Vehicle Code § 14601.2) (from 2013) and operating a vehicle without a functioning ignition interlock device (Vehicle Code § 23247(e)).
The client was released and called up Greg Hill & Associates the same day. Greg had represented the client in an earlier case and could recognize the sense of urgency in our client’s voice. The client was certain he was facing a third-time DUI and a felony for hitting the eleven year-old and leaving the scene.
Greg explained how felony DUI cases are prosecuted and what the penalties can be. The client was quite worried about being sent to prison.
On the day of the arraignment, Greg appeared in the Inglewood Superior Court to be told no case had been filed yet and that the matter was still under investigation.
About two months later, our client received a letter in the mail from the Inglewood City Prosecutor’s Office notifying our client that a misdemeanor complaint had been filed against our client and when the arraignment date would be. While our client was relieved that he did not face time in prison with a felony DUI, he still faced a minimum of 120 days in county jail and probably more in this case due to the hit and run and driving on a license suspended to a DUI and not having an IID installed in the car the last eight years.
Through negotiations, Greg was able to ultimately resolve the case as a dry reckless with our client agreeing to one year of informal, or summary, probation and an obligation to attend three Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings per week for the year, to enroll in and attend the AB 762 six-month alcohol awareness program, to enroll in and attend the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Victim Impact Panel, as well as the 12-hour Hospital and Morgue (HAM) program. The client also agreed to pay restitution to the mother of the eleven year old boy, the owner of the car our client collided with and the City of Inglewood for any emergency response fees to the car accident.
It was a good resolution for what was a third-time DUI. A dry reckless (a violation of Vehicle Code § 23103) moreover, is not considered a “prior DUI” for our client.
For more information about a third-time DUI, hit and run and reckless driving, please click on the following articles: