Vehicle Code section 23152(a)/(b), “DUI” and Vehicle Code section 20002(a), “Hit and Run - Property Damage” Misdemeanor Charges Dismissed on Informal Serna Motion

In 1990, our client was charged with five Vehicle Code section counts - Count 1: Vehicle Code section 23152(a), “Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol”; Count 2: Vehicle Code section 23152(b), “Driving with a 0.08 Percent or More of Alcohol in Blood”; Count 3: Vehicle Code section 20002(a), “Hit and Run with Property Damage”; Count 4: Vehicle Code section 12500(a), “Driving Without a License”; and Count 5: Vehicle Code section 16028(a), “Driving Without Proof of Insurance.” Our client failed to appear at his trial in 1990 and a bench warrant was issued for his arrest.

Recently, our client hired our office to represent him on several of his criminal matters and we discovered that he had an outstanding warrant for this case. We then set the matter on calendar for a bench warrant recall.

We appeared at the bench warrant hearing on our client’s behalf pursuant to Penal Code section 977(a). For misdemeanor matters, Penal Code section 977(a) provides an attorney authority to appear on a defendant’s behalf without the personal appearance of the defendant in court. Under certain circumstances, the court can require the defendant to personally appear if the defendant is charged with Vehicle Code section 23152, “DUI” offenses; however, we were successful at avoiding this issue and appearing without our client present in court.

At the bench warrant hearing, pursuant to an informal Serna motion, the case was completely dismissed pursuant to Penal Code section 1385, “In the Interests of Justice.”

Given that the case was completely dismissed without a conviction, our client is now eligible to seal his record of arrest pursuant to Penal Code section 851.91, which would allow him to effectively state that this arrest and case did not occur!

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