Our client, age 33, was out with friends in West Covina. He was enjoying a few drinks. Once closing time arrived, the bar hustled our client and his friends out the front door before they were able to use the rest room.
Once out in the parking lot behind the bar, our client realized he needed to find a restroom. He tried going back into the bar, but the bar would not let him back in (it was about 2:05 a.m.).
He thus walked away from his friends, who were still standing around talking, and found a blue dumpster off toward an alley area at the edge of the parking lot. Our client then ducked behind a retaining wall and stood close to the dumpster, hoping no one could observe what he was doing.
To any casual observer, it was obvious what he was doing. One such observer was a West Covina police officer driving by the parking lot, most likely checking on fights or folks like our client urinating in public.
When the police saw our client, they drove up alongside him just as he was zipping up his fly. They asked him if he had been urinating near the dumpster and our client candidly admitted that he indeed was. The police then issued him a ticket for public nuisance, a violation of California Penal Code § 372. This is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in county jail and / or up to a $500 fine, plus penalties and assessments.
Our client had suffered three prior DUI convictions, all also out of the West Covina courthouse, so he knew what a misdemeanor meant to him. He knew this was not just a traffic ticket resolvable with a check for $55 like a parking ticket.
He was further anxious about the ticket because his current employer told him when he started working there that he would be fired if he was ever on probation, even informal probation.
He was not certain how such a misdemeanor could be resolved for an amended charge that might involve minor punishment, but he had seen it done in court. He knew from experience that an attorney would know or may know how to do this, but with his prior DUI convictions, he knew he could not do so himself.
He thus called Greg Hill & Associates and spoke with Greg Hill. Greg explained how the prosecutor could be very tough, especially in West Covina, but if he attended ten Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings prior to the arraignment and gave Greg proof of this to show the prosecutor, that might help a great deal. Greg then explained how the case might be resolved for an infraction for disturbing the peace (Penal Code § 415(2)) or trespassing (Penal Code § 602(m)) with just a fine and no probation.
Greg also discussed how he might be able to have the case civilly compromised under Penal Code §§ 1377 and 1378. Greg explained how he might offer to make a “donation” or “contribution” to a West Covina Police Officer’s Association Morale, Welfare and Recreation fund or something similar.
The client retained Greg Hill & Associates and promised to attend ten AA meetings prior to the arraignment and e-mail Greg proof of the meetings attended to take to the arraignment.
Greg Hill & Associates then prepared and mailed out letters to the West Covina police department and the West Covina District Attorney’s Office requesting the police report, photographs, videos, audio and all other documents involving the arrest, including the dispatch log and 911 call, if applicable.
However, when the day of the arraignment arrived, the client reported that he had not attended any AA meetings.
Greg then went to the West Covina courthouse, quite nervous that the prosecutor would look upon our client’s case as just further proof of an incorrigible young man who just was incapable of following the law. However, much to Greg’s relief, no case was filed.
The client was ecstatic, knowing that he was truly lucky and suspecting that Greg’s letters to the prosecution and police may have shown that the client was taking his case seriously. This may have been all that was required to suggest to the prosecutor that a criminal filing was unnecessary: our client was worried about his conduct.