Mara Elliott
San Diego City Attorney Mara Elliott. File photo

Good news for beachgoers who receive certain non-traffic tickets on or before the July 4th holiday. They may avoid convictions and fines thanks to a San Diego City Attorney’s Office program called Instant Justice.

Offenses covered by the San Diego City Attorney’s Instant Justice program include:

  • Open alcohol containers,
  • Consuming alcohol in public,
  • Glass containers,
  • Littering,
  • Dogs off leash, and;
  • Smoking in the park.

Here’s how it works: participants are given an opportunity to complete six hours of community work service in the beach area on Monday, July 8, to avoid convictions and fines that are typically a minimum of $200.

The Instant Justice program applies to infractions received on San Diego city beaches and parks in Pacific Beach, Mission Beach, La Jolla and Clairemont.

This is a diversion opportunity for you to resolve your case and avoid having criminal charges filed against you. Participation in Beach Area Community Court is strictly voluntary.

If you complete the program, you will avoid having criminal charges filed against you.

You must report to Pacific Beach Shore Club at 4343 Ocean Boulevard in San Diego by 9 a.m. on Monday, July 8, 2019.

You will be required to provide:
1) Your citation;
2) Valid photo ID; and,
3) $40 cash or a cashier’s check.

To complete the program, you must participate until 3 p.m. Guests are
not permitted, including children.

If you decline to participate, you must appear on your scheduled arraignment date in San Diego Superior Court, as stated on your citation.  Your failure to appear on that date will result in the issuance of a warrant
for your arrest and/or additional fines.

The annual Instant Justice program has been a highly successful effort of the San Diego City Attorney’s Neighborhood Justice Unit and Collaborative Courts Unit, and partners at the San Diego Police Department’s Northern Division, Discover Pacific Beach, San Diego’s Department of Parks and Recreation, and the San Diego Lifeguard Service.

Since 2011, more than 240 participants have worked for more than 1,200 hours, restoring San Diego’s parks, beaches, streets and alleys.

“This is a win-win program. Instant Justice gives tourists and locals alike who commit a minor offense over the 4th of July holiday a second chance,” San Diego City Attorney Mara W. Elliott said. “Instead of traveling back to San Diego to face court and fines, they are afforded an opportunity to give back to our community and avoid a criminal charge on their records.”

The San Diego City Attorney’s Neighborhood Justice Unit is involved in several alternative sentencing programs and community courts. In the alternative courts, offenders give back to the community in which they have committed certain crimes. Alternative sentencing programs are aimed at intervention, diversion, reducing recidivism and restoring the community.

You may register for the regularly scheduled Beach Area Community Court at or by calling (858) 273-3050. Please note that this session is a two-day program with fixed dates and additional eligibility requirements.