Two years before contacting our office, our client had entered into a plea bargain in a domestic violence case arising out of Hermosa Beach. One of the terms of the plea bargain was that he complete a 52 week batterers program.
Summary: Torrance, probation violation (Penal Code § 166(a)) for failure to complete batterers program as part of domestic violence plea bargain, client reinstated on probation and program.
After entering his plea and enrolling in such a program, his mom became very sick, so our client moved to Ontario, Canada to help her. When a post-plea progress hearing in the case was heard, our client did not attend as he was ordered. After all, he was several thousand miles away in another country no less. He was preoccupied with caring for his mother. The judge hearing the matter allowed a bench warrant to be issued for his failure to appear. The client also never filed a notice of change of address during the rush to move back to Ontario, so when the judge issued the bench warrant, the notice went to the wrong address.
After moving to Canada, our client abandoned any effort at completing the batterers program through a similar program. He figured he would never return to the United States for any reason.
Two years later, he was back in Southern California visiting an old girlfriend and, as luck is, he was pulled over at a traffic stop. Hermosa Beach police officers saw on their computers that our client had a bench warrant for his arrest, so they arrested him.
Our client then contacted Greg Hill & Associates from the Hermosa Beach jail. Greg immediately contacted the handling Hermosa Beach City Prosecutor for the case as well as the police department.
At the arraignment, Greg explained to the City Prosecutor the reason behind our client violating probation and his bench warrant. He also asked to have the client placed back on probation under the same terms and conditions (i.e. no punishment for not coming forward to address the situation in two years), but with a provision that our client be permitted to complete an online 52 session batterer’s program through Tom Wilson Counseling. The City Prosecutor agreed and the judge followed the lead of the City Prosecutor. This was very lucky.
As such, our client avoided a probation violation and was given a second chance to comply with his plea bargain. He was relieved that the court did not punish him.
This case exemplifies the importance of updating one’s address with the court, as the judge will warn everyone entering a plea bargain to notify the court of any change of address within 48 hours of changing one’s address. Most people do not heed this admonition when it is given, as they are just so happy to avoid jail or prison. However, it is an important thing to do to avoid just the type of situation that our client experienced here, which was unavoidable.
This case further shows that it is really foolhardy to believe that just because one does not live in the United States, there is no problem. Had our client not been stopped in a traffic stop, he still would have faced being stopped at customs due to the bench warrant if he ever flew into the United States in the future. Here, he drove into the United States and then flew to LAX, so he luckily skirted that situation.
For more information about the issues in this case summary, click on the following articles:
- What Punishment Do I Face for a Probation Violation?
- What Happens at a Probation Violation Hearing?
- May a Judge Extend Summary Probation Beyond Three Years If There Are Probation Violations?