Our client and his girlfriend were arguing about their relationship and why he would not propose marriage to her. Our client was 48 years old and his girlfriend was 33. Our client had a steady job and his girlfriend had never worked. To her, he oozed money, stability and no more financial worries. He represented her early retirement from a job she never even had.
The argument between the two escalated to yelling and the girlfriend called the police. She sensed he would never propose to her, so she decided to retaliate by claiming he punched her to have him arrested and thereby ruin his employment future.
In a Nutshell: Client pleads to misdemeanor domestic violence in Torrance, ordered to three years of summary (informal) probation, probation terminated after one year and expungement of the conviction granted.
Police arrived and the girlfriend told police that our client, a big guy weighing well over 250 pounds, had punched her repeatedly in the face and tried to choke her. Her face, however, showed no signs of trauma and the skin on her neck looked normal. Police became suspicious of her, but arrested our client nonetheless to separate the two. The police then recommended prosecution of our client out of an abundance of caution.
The Torrance City Prosecutor’s office proceeded to follow the police department’s recommendation and charged our client with misdemeanor domestic violence (Penal Code § 273.5) and our client hired another attorney, who quickly convinced his client to enter into a plea bargain. This was a big mistake. The evidentiary shortcomings in the photographs was never discussed.
When the client realized what had happened, he was overcome with confusion. He first wanted the plea withdrawn, but this was impossible because over six months had passed. He also wanted to have the restraining order entered at the conviction dissolved, as his girlfriend had moved out of Los Angeles to Las Vegas and he no longer had any contact with her. The restraining order was noted by his employer and this caused his employer to regard him with some caution and skepticism.
Torrance Superior Courthouse
The client then hired Greg Hill & Associates. Greg quickly looked through the court file and spoke with the client about the case. Greg then filed a motion for modification of the plea bargain to change the protective order to “peaceful coexistence.” The judge in Torrance granted this without even hearing from the alleged victim (this was quite unusual) and in reading the motion’s factual background, asked to see the pictures of the alleged injuries. Greg showed the judge the pictures, which showed no injuries at all.
Greg then asked the judge if he would terminate probation when the client completed his 52 classes of the batterer’s program, especially since the client had no prior record and had already paid all fees and fines associated with the plea bargain. The judge agreed.
Approximately three months later, our client completed the program and Greg quickly filed the motion to terminate probation under Penal Code § 1203.3, attaching the minute order from the last hearing wherein the clerk included the judge’s promise to terminate probation early. The judge honored his promise, much to the chagrin of the Redondo Beach City Prosecutor, who pointed out that it is very rare for probation in a domestic violence case to be terminated even at the half way point, but probation in this case was being terminated after just one year.
The judge granted the motion and terminated the protective order. Our client was very happy with this, as his employer was suggesting his job was in jeopardy with such a protective order in place.
Greg Hill & Associates then filed a petition for dismissal and withdrawal of the plea (expungement) under Penal Code § 1203.4 because the client was now eligible for this since probation had been terminated.
The judge granted the petition as well.
For more information about the issues in this case summary, click on the following articles:
- Is Expungement Worth It?
- What Does the New Law in 2015 Concerning Expunged Convictions Mean for State License Applications?
Watch our video about expungement by clicking here
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