LOS ANGELES — Lakewood, California, attorney Richard Alan Dongell was placed on a two-year probation after his convictions related to an arrest for driving under the influence.
According to the State Bar of California website, the decision to place Dongell on probation, which took effect Dec. 4, 2016, stemmed from his arrest in August 2013. He was the driver of a vehicle in August 2013 with his two children also in the car as passengers. Dongell allegedly sideswiped another vehicle stopped at an intersection, and after being pulled over by police, failed a field sobriety test with a reported blood alcohol level of .222.
There were no injuries as a result of the accident, but Dongell was still convicted of child endangerment as well as a DUI, both of which were misdemeanor violations, according to court documents.
The hearing judge for the State Bar Court of California requested that Dongell be put on a one-year stayed suspension. However, the Office of the Chief Trial Counsel appealed the ruling insisting that the case be further reviewed to determine that the attorney’s actions involved moral turpitude. The appeal was reviewed by a three-judge panel that determined the original ruling was sufficient as Dongell had no prior record of discipline and was going through an emotionally challenging situation at the time of the accident. The attorney was also able to provide eight witness letters to attest to his good character and fully cooperated with the State Bar’s investigation.
Failure to adhere to the terms of Dongell’s probation will result in a one-year suspension.
Dongell, 55, has been a State Bar of California member since 1987, according to his State Bar profile page.
The State Bar was established in 1927 by the state’s Legislature and is governed by 19 trustees. The State Bar Court added appointed full-time judges in 1989. Court documents for all State Bar Court of California cases can be found at calbar.ca.gov.