7 Benefits to Alternative Sentencing Under California Drug Diversion Programs
California defendants charged with non-violent drug use or drug possession crimes may be eligible for alternatives to traditional forms of sentencing and punishment otherwise provided for in a criminal prosecution.
If you are facing drug possession charges, you should speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney at Wallin & Klarich who can determine if you qualify for what is commonly referred to as “drug diversion.” Drug diversion is authorized under:
- Deferred Entry of Judgment (Penal Code Section 1000);
- “Proposition 36” (Penal Code Sections 1210-1210.1 and 3063.1); and
- California Drug Court.
Drug diversion programs allow you the opportunity to avoid the more serious consequences of a criminal conviction. The benefits of these types of programs are substantial and thus worth being explored.
Our attorneys want to share with you what some of the benefits of drug diversion are and how we can help you if you are facing a drug possession charge.
1. You Can Avoid Having to Serve Jail Time
Most drug possession offenses are charged as felonies carrying up to three years in jail. Drug diversion programs allow some defendants charged with simple, non-violent drug possession crimes to complete drug treatment rather than serve jail time. In most cases, you must first plead guilty to the crime you are being charged with.
California law mandates that if you qualify for Deferred Entry of Judgment, the judge must delay any jail sentence you could have received while you are in the process of completing a drug treatment program.
If your case permits the judge to place you on probation under Proposition 36, imposition and execution of your sentence is suspended during your probation and a condition that you complete a drug treatment is imposed.
California Drug Courts have broad authority over requirements in drug possession matters, which include the possibility that you don’t have to plead guilty to a crime prior to participating in a drug program.
2. You Can Have Your Drug Possession Case Dismissed
If you successfully complete your drug treatment program, pay all required fines and fees and comply with any other court-order conditions that may have been imposed, the court must allow you to withdraw your guilty plea in a qualifying drug possession case and formally dismiss your charge. This means that your record is cleared of what could have been a felony conviction.
3. Dismissal As a Result of Drug Diversion Won’t Count Against You
If you successfully complete your drug diversion program and your case is dismissed, a prosecutor may not use the dismissed conviction against you in a future criminal proceeding. A prior criminal record often causes your punishment in a current case to increase. Drug diversion cases that are dismissed won’t count against you if you are arrested for another crime in the future.
4. You Can Truthfully Report No Conviction
After the court dismisses your drug possession case, you may truthfully report on an employment application or during an interview that you were never convicted of the crime, unless you are applying to become a law enforcement officer or you run for public office.
Most employers do background checks before they hire someone. They may be very reluctant to offer a job to a convicted felon. Drug diversion helps you avoid this situation.
5. You May Be Able to Keep Going to Work or School
Because you are not sent to jail while you are actively participating in a drug diversion program, you may be able to continue working at your job or attending school. This is a significantly better alternative than being confined in a cell all day and possibly losing your employment, a scholarship, and possibly your home, car and other valuable property. You also maintain your ability to be with your family, friends and colleagues.
6. You May Be Able to Avoid Loss of Your Professional State License
A conviction for a drug felony can seriously impact your life in more ways than being sent to jail. You may also face disciplinary proceedings that could result in the suspension or revocation of a state license you are required to hold for certain professional positions, such as a teacher, contractor, physician, nurse, therapist, broker or attorney.
Not only does drug diversion help you keep your record clear of a criminal conviction, successfully completing a drug treatment program may help you avoid losing your professional license.
7. You May Recover From a Lifelong Drug Abuse Problem
One of the reasons for drug diversion is to assist people with potential drug dependency issues recover from their addictions without necessarily turning them into criminals.
Society also benefits because tax-payers aren’t covering the enormous costs to keep you in jail. The purpose of jail is to punish you, not help you recover from drug addiction.
If you have a drug abuse problem, successfully completing a drug treatment program can help you to recover from a potentially lifelong and progressive addiction.
Contact Wallin & Klarich Today if You Are Interested in California Drug Diversion Programs
If you or someone you care about has been charged with non-violent drug possession, you should contact our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich today so we can explain all of your options. We may be able to help you avoid jail time and other serious consequences.
If you are eligible for alternative sentencing in a California drug diversion program, not only can you avoid being sent to jail, you are entitled to have your case dismissed upon successful completion of a drug treatment program.
With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Tustin, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have over 40 years of experience successfully defending thousands of clients facing drug charges in Southern California. We can help you get the best possible result in your case.
Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free telephone consultation. We will get through this together.