Drug charges usually come with life-altering repercussions that may present obstacles in an individual’s personal and even professional life. If you or a loved one has been arrested for being under the influence of drugs or simple drug possession, it can be possible to avoid jail or prison term by taking part in a treatment program in what is known as Drug Diversion. This is a court-approved treatment program that includes drug education, narcotic replacement therapy or detoxification services, residential treatment or outpatient services, and aftercare services. Drug diversion does not refer to the drug rehabilitation services offered in jail or prison facilities.
The entire process of fighting for your rights and entering a drug diversion program is dependent on the kind of attorney you hire. The knowledgeable and skilled attorneys at Leah legal can be able to defend your rights and help you acquire entry into a diversion program. To speak with an experienced and aggressive drug crimes defense attorney, call Leah Legal today at 818-484-1100 for a free consultation.
Who is Eligible for Drug Diversion?
These programs are specifically intended for individuals with no history of serious criminal conduct and are charged with a low-level, violent-free offense. For the defendant to qualify for drug diversion program after being charged with either of the crimes listed below, they are required not to have had a preceding conviction for the same crime they are being charged with currently. Offenses that qualify for drug diversion include:
- Personal Possession of a Controlled Substance
- Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
- Possession of Less than 1oz of Marijuana
- Forged Drug Prescription
- Possession of Methamphetamines
- Aiding and Abetting Unlawful Use of Controlled Substances
- Possession of Xanax
- Driving While in Possession of Marijuana
- Driving under the Influence of a Controlled Substance
- Public Intoxication
- Possession of Controlled Substance
- Possession of Toluene
Drug Diversion in California is authorized under
- Proposition 36,
- Deferred Entry of Judgment commonly referred to as PC-1000, and
- California Drug Court
California law is designed in a manner that allows eligible defendants to be granted the chance to change their lives without serving jail or prison term. This helps in reducing the number of persons affected by the complex problems associated with substance abuse and addiction. While a court-approved drug treatment program is a serious time commitment, it gives the respondent an opportunity to clear their name off drug charges and even aids in reinstating their health depending on the details of their case. Furthermore, the program offers the defendant an opportunity to start life afresh without serving prison or jail term and having the charges dismissed upon successful completion of the program.
It can be quite challenging to choose between the drug diversion options of PC-1000 and Proposition 36. But with the help of an experienced attorney, you can be in a position to choose the option that offers you the brightest promise for your future.
PC-1000 DRUG DIVERSION (Deferred Entry of Judgment)
In pretrial diversion program cases, commonly known PC-1000 drug diversion, the plaintiff will plead guilty to the drug charges and the judge will then suspend the sentencing or judgment of a finding of guilt until after 18 months. During the first 5 to 6 months, the respondent will be subjected to random drug testing and substance abuse counseling. This is then followed by unsupervised probation for 12 months. If the defendant effectively completes the first 5 to 6 months of random testing and substance abuse counseling and further manages not to be charged with any new criminal cases during the unsupervised probation period, the will be dropped and will not make it to the individual’s record as a conviction.
Once the defendant successfully completes PC-1000 program, the court may issue an order to seal the records as provided under California Penal Code 851.92. It’s worth noting that criminal justice agencies will still have the ability to access and use the records in accordance with applicable law. Also, individuals who successfully complete the PC-1000 program are protected from California professional licensing agencies from using the arrest to deny a license for professional misconduct or pursuing sanctions against a licensee.
What are the Consequences of Violating PC-1000 Probation?
Failing to complete PC-1000 Drug Diversion Program may result in the defendant being sentenced for the underlying charge or in some instances, they may be subjected to the most extensive Proposition 36 program. A defendant may fail to complete the PC-1000 Drug Diversion Program either by:
- Getting arrested,
- Not completing treatment, or
- Testing positive for drugs during the probation period.
Qualifications for the PC-1000 Drug Diversion Program
Generally, this program is available to drug offenders who have not had a previous drug conviction, those who are charged with being under the influence or simple possession, or those who have effectively completed the Deferred Entry of Judgment Program more than five years before the current arrest. Individuals who do not qualify for PC-1000 Drug Diversion Program are those whose activities go beyond simple use, possession, or personal transportation.
PROPOSITION 36 PROBATION
In Prop. 36 probation, the drug offender is required to enter a plea to the drug charges. Also, he or she will be required to complete a drug treatment and counseling for a maximum of three (3) years as prescribed by the probation department.
Levels of Prop. 36 Treatment
Prop. 36 treatment has six levels. The first level (the least stringent) involves random drug testing and out-patient counseling. Treatment then varies in levels of severity up to the sixth level, which involves in-patient residential treatment.
The level of treatment that a person has to go through once admitted to the program will frequently vary in the course of the program. If an individual is effective and acquiescent with the rules and orders of the program, he/she will be reallocated to lower levels of treatment. For those who are not compliant, violate probation, or in one way or another show that they aren’t effective in the program, they may be reassigned to a higher level of treatment that is more stringent.
Possible Problems with Violation of Prop. 36 Probation
If a drug offender on Prop. 36 Probation violates the terms of their probation for the first time, the judge is required to allow them to continue participating in the program provided the violations are exclusively drug related. As for a second time violation of Prop. 36, the judge has the discretion to give the drug offender yet another chance to continue in the program provided the desecration is drug-related. But things are quite different the third time that Prop. 36 is violated. The judge must terminate the Probation and impose the sentence, which usually includes a prison term under a California Department of Correction system.
Eligibility for Prop. 36 Program
In California, most people charged with simple drug possession qualify to join Proposition 36 program. Those who do not qualify are individuals who have been charged with non-drug related charges or sales related drug charges, and those who have been convicted in the past five years for offenses that fall under California’s Strike law provisions.
If you don’t qualify for Prop. 36 probation because you’ve been charged with a more serious drug charge, an experienced drug crime defense attorney may be able to get the charges reduced to allow for your eligibility. The best thing about this program is that you can do the program even if you get convicted at trial, and this allows you to skip going to jail.
California drug courts is another drug diversion program similar to Penal Code 1000 PC. However, this is available to defendants who are represented by public defenders. The program is authorized by California PC 1000.5 and takes a unique interest in persons who may greatly benefit from drug rehabilitation program. As with Prop. 36 and PC 1000, the underlying drug charges can be dismissed upon successful completion of a drug court treatment program. The dismissal is used by the drug courts as a motivation to ensure that all participants succeed in the program. An experienced criminal defense attorney can present a compelling defense on your behalf and help you secure a place in a California drug court or in another drug diversion program.
Generally, all California drug courts integrate a system of graduated rewards or punishment for drug offenders who fail to comply. Also, it’s worth noting that each drug court basically runs itself, which means that each establishes its own protocols and requirements.
The main premise behind drug courts is that drug and alcohol rehabilitation is desirable over imprisonment when it concerns nonviolent drug offenders. The main goals of a California drug court include reducing drug use and repeat offenses (recidivism) as well as integrating other rehabilitation services with drug treatment to encourage long-term recovery
Since their formulation, California drug courts have established programs in
- Dependency courts- provides drug treatment to parents and allows them to continue caring for their children without the need of foster care.
- Adult courts- these drug courts focus on providing thorough drug treatment to adult offers for at least one year
- Juvenile courts- these courts were formulated to treat minors and offers therapy to their families. This drug courts aim at maintaining long-term soberness and providing immediate intervention to prevent further criminal activity
Whether or not you must enter a plea before participating in drug court will be determined by your criminal record and the nature of your current crime. An individual with a history of drug abuse but no other type of criminal history is not obligated to enter a guilty plea. Those with a criminal history of other forms of crimes may be obligated to enter a guilty plea before being admitted as a participant in a drug court. If you fall under the category of those who must plead guilty, you will be placed on a 36 months’ probation. And as a condition of probation, you will be required to take part a drug treatment program. On successful completion of the program, your charges will be discharged and probation dismissed.
Obtaining a Drug Diversion Offer
Drug diversion is discretionary and this implies that the decision lies with the prosecutor. In fact, the District Attorney’s Office doesn’t offer diversion programs to any person that satisfies the requirements. It's important that you hire a competent criminal defense attorney who knows the processes involved and has a good relationship with the District Attorney’s Offices. After all, diversion is an agreement between the criminal defense attorney and prosecutor under the facilitation of the courts.
Benefits of Drug Diversion Programs in a Nutshell
- You can avoid having to serve jail time
- You can have your drug possession case dismissed
- The dismissal of the charges against you as a result of a drug diversion program won’t count against you
- You can truthfully report no conviction
- You may be able to keep going to school or work
- You may be able to avoid loss of your professional state license
- It gives you the opportunity to recover from a lifelong drug abuse problem
Absolute Commitment to Getting Clients Drug Diversion
Qualifying for enrollment in a drug diversion program can be quite critical, and at Leah Legal, we are skilled negotiators committed to protecting the rights of persons charged with all sorts of drug charges. We know when and how to secure a favorable plea deal and have a long track record of representing our clients and winning the best possible outcomes.
With us on your side comes the possibility of not only lighter sentences but also getting the charges dismissed altogether. We will walk with you through every step of the way, zealously advocating for your rights and working to protect your future against unduly or undeserved punishment. No matter how daunting the charges against you may be, the team at Leah legal can help. Contact us anytime 24/7 for a free, no-obligation consultation on your case. Call us at 818-484-1100 and we can immediately start the process of building your defense.