I recently represented a client in the San Bernardino Juvenile Court that
was accused of a DUI in violation of Vehicle Code section 23152. He was
involved in a car accident (crashing into a wall) while have other minors
as passengers and he blew a .14/.14 on the breath test. In Juvenile court
there is a progression of resolutions. Welfare and Institutions (W&I)
Code section 702, which results in an admission of culpability and sentence;
W&I Code section 725, which is an admission of guilty with postponed
sentencing and eventual dismissal (a statutory Deferred Entry of Judgment);
and lastly, W&I Code section 654, which is pre-plea (or pre-admission)
diversion. The case is continued for six months with some terms and conditions
to complete, then the case is dismissed.
The best result of the three is, of course, W&I Code section 654. It
is uncommon to achieve this result in a Juvenile DUI case, particularly
when there is a collision, with other minor passengers, and a .14/.14
Blood Alcohol Content (BAC). However, I worked with my client and his
family to prove to the court that he was worthy of pre-plea diversion
and that he represented a low risk for future violations. This involved
gathering letters of character, proof of employment, school grades, and
proof of extracurricular activities.
In the end, the judge agreed that my client was an appropriate candidate
despite the seriousness of the offense. W&I Code section 654 granted!