West Covina, Prop 36 Violation in 2005, Dismissal in 2015

In 2005, our client was arrested and later charged with joyriding (Vehicle Code § 10851(a)) and being in possession of methamphetamine (Health & Safety Code § 11377(a)), both misdemeanors.

Our client, then 37, had a lengthy criminal history in other states, but no history at all in California.  After several appearances and using the public defender in the West Covina Courthouse (also called the Citrus Courthouse), he was offered three years of summary probation on the joyriding charge, with an obligation to pay $100 plus penalties and assessments for a total of $431, and Prop 36 delayed entry of judgment on possession charge.  The term for his Prop 36 was eighteen months and he was required to pay a fee of $256 if he did not complete the program.

As the plea was entered onto the record, the judge set a progress hearing for our client to return to court about a month later to show he had enrolled in the Prop 36 program and that he was attending the classes, being tested, etc.
 
At the next hearing, the first progress hearing, our client failed to appear in court.  At the time, he had returned to Illinois with no intention of ever returning to California.

The judge had no idea where our client was, but issued a bench warrant with bail set at $15,000.

Ten years later, in 2015, our client was advised by his employer that there was a bench warrant for him in California, out of the West Covina Court.  The client then called Greg Hill & Associates to ask him what he could do to “make it go away.”

Greg first went to the courthouse to get the minute order on the case and ensure he knew what the Client’s plea was for and what his obligations were.  Greg then called the client back and explained what the bench warrant was for and what Greg Hill & Associates could do to help.

Greg explained that, while it was up to a judge’s discretion, he may be able to have the bench warrant recalled without the client coming out from Illinois to the West Covina Court.  Greg stressed that the judge could deny the request, but it made practical sense to try this to save the client the expense of a trip across the country.

Before doing so, however, Greg told the client what it would be smart for him to provide Greg with the overdue court fees and proof of completion of a drug treatment program, which the client in fact did complete in Illinois.  Greg explained that he was not sure if the judge would deem the Illinois program as meeting the Prop 36 requirements, but since the client had attended over 100 hours of classes and passed numerous urine tests for drugs, he was hopeful.

Greg then appeared in the West Covina Court to request that the bench warrant be recalled.  The young female judge was quite mad (although she probably was still in law school or a junior DA when the bench warrant was originally issued) at our client and denied Greg’s request to have the bench warrant recalled.  She said she wanted our client to appear in court, so she could “see the whites in his eyes.”

Greg then left the courthouse and reported back to the client, who was disappointed, but understood the court’s perspective.

The client then came out to California from Illinois about five weeks later and, with Greg, appeared back in the West Covina Courthouse.

This time, another judge was assigned to hear the bench warrant matters.  This judge, an older male judge, readily recalled the warrant, reinstated the client on Prop 36 and then deemed the Illinois program sufficient and then ordered the case dismissed upon the client’s payment of the court fees and fines.

Greg and the client then walked out of the courtroom and to the criminal clerk’s office, where they paid the court fees and fines overdue.  The case was then dismissed.  The client was quite relieved that this was accomplished, especially because the drug treatment program in Illinois was not approved by the California court before the client began it.

For more information about probation violations, click on the following articles:
  1. What Punishment Do I Face for a Probation Violation?
  2. May a Judge Extend Summary Probation Beyond Three Years if There Are Probation Violations?
  3. What Happens at a Probation Violation Hearing?
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