If you are facing a drug possession charge, you may qualify for alternative sentencing under California “drug diversion” laws. Drug diversion permits some defendants the opportunity to complete drug treatment instead of serving jail time for certain non-violent convictions for drug possession. If you have been charged with a drug offense involving sales, possession for sales, or manufacturing of a controlled substance you do not qualify for drug diversion. If you are facing drug-related charges, it is important to understand the eligibility requirements for California drug diversion programs.
There are three ways to avoid jail time for drug possession charges under California drug diversion programs:
- Deferred Entry of Judgment
- Proposition 36
- California Drug Court
Your eligibility will depend on the charges against you and your criminal history. You should speak to our experienced criminal defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich today to determine which program may be available to you and which is most suitable in your case.
Deferred Entry of Judgment – PC 1000
Under California Penal Code Section 1000 (PC 1000), a defendant accused of possession or use of a controlled substance or drug paraphernalia may be eligible for a drug diversion program.
The Deferred Entry of Judgment (“DEJ”) program allows you to have your sentence suspended while you enter into an 18-to-36-month drug treatment program.
To be eligible for a deferred entry of judgment, all of the following apply:
- You must be a first time drug offender;
- You must not have any offenses involving controlled substances on your record;
- The charged offense must not involve violence;
- Your record must not have any revocation of probation or parole;
- You must not have any prior felony convictions within five years of the charged offense; and
- The prosecutor must agree that drug diversion is appropriate in your case.
Probation under Proposition 36
Penal Code Sections 1210-1210.1 (for probationers) and 3063.1 (for parolees) are more commonly referred to by the initiative measure passed in 2000 known as Proposition 36.
Prop. 36 may be available to you if you are accused of a drug possession crime and you meet all of the following eligibility requirements:
- You have not been imprisoned within the last five years for a serious or violent felony offense under California’s Three Strikes Laws;
- You are not convicted in the same proceeding of a non-drug related misdemeanor or any other felony;
- During the commission of the offense, you were not in possession of a firearm and, at the same time, were not either in possession of or under the influence of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine or phencyclidine (PCP);
- You do not refuse treatment; and
- You do not have two separate drug related convictions, have not participated in Prop 36 twice before, and have not been found by the court by clear and convincing evidence to be unamenable (“unresponsive”) to any and all forms of available drug treatment. In such cases, you shall be sentenced to 30 days in jail.
If you want to enter into either the DEJ program or Prop. 36 program, you must plead guilty to the drug charge(s) pending against you. However, a jail sentence will be stayed pending your completion of the program. If you successfully complete either program and are not found guilty during this period of any other criminal activity or probation violation, you are entitled to have the current drug charge(s) against you dismissed.
However, if you fail to complete the program, your charge(s) will not be dismissed and you will be sentenced to serve time in county jail.
California Drug Court
California drug court pursuant to Penal Code Section 1000.5 is another drug diversion program. Like PC 1000 and Prop. 36, the successful completion of your drug court treatment program can result in a dismissal of your drug possession charge(s).
The significant difference between drug court and other forms of California drug diversion is that if you participate in drug court, you are not required to first plead guilty to any offense. The entire criminal proceedings against you are suspended while you attempt to complete your treatment program.
If you successfully complete your program, the judge will automatically dismiss the charge(s). However, unsatisfactory performance while undergoing drug treatment may result in the criminal charges against you being reinstated, at which point you face formal prosecution.
Find Out if You are Eligible for California Drug Diversion Programs
With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Tustin, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, the law firm of Wallin & Klarich has successfully represented thousands of clients facing drug-related charges in California for over 40 years. Drawing from our extensive experience, our talented criminal defense lawyers will thoroughly review all of the evidence and develop an effective defense strategy specifically tailored to your case.
We may be able to get the charges against you reduce or dismissed. If not, we may be able to get you qualified for drug diversion, helping you to avoid jail time. Successful completion of drug treatment also entitles you to have your conviction dismissed. Click here to see how we’ve helped clients avoid jail time with drug diversion or by getting their case completely dismissed.
Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free telephone consultation. We will get through this together.