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First-time convictions for a criminal misdemeanor or felony can result in jail or prison time, fines, and other penalties, including a criminal record that could follow you for the rest of your life. However, the courts understand that many first-time offenders suffer from addictions and other mental health issues. California pretrial diversion programs give eligible defendants a chance to avoid jail time if they can successfully complete treatment and education courses. These diversion programs can help you avoid a criminal conviction by providing you with the necessary treatment to avoid becoming a repeat offender.
The 3 Types of Diversion Programs in California
A pretrial diversion program provides an alternative to criminal prosecution. Instead of the defendant going through a trial, a judge diverts the case and orders the defendant to complete specific terms, conditions, and programs.
Drug Diversion Program
Defendants charged with a first-time, low-level misdemeanor can enter this type of pretrial diversion program. Some of the common types of crimes that can be diverted include:
- Possession of a controlled substance
- Possession of drug paraphernalia
- Under the influence of drugs
- Possession of unlawful marijuana
- Unlawful marijuana cultivation
- Forged prescription for narcotics
- Possession of prescription sedatives
- Possession of methamphetamine
- Public intoxication
Defendants are given a certain amount of time to complete several conditions, including probation, drug or alcohol treatment, educational or vocational classes, random drug testing, and restitution.
Mental Health Diversion Program
Individuals suffering from a mental health disorder may receive treatment through this program if charged with a non-violent and non-sexual misdemeanor or felony. Qualifying diagnoses for a mental health diversion program include:
- Bipolar disorder
- Schizoaffective disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
For a defendant to participate in a mental health diversion program, the defendant must meet certain conditions. A major condition is that the defendant’s mental health played a significant role in the crime. Additionally, a mental health expert must believe the defendant would respond to the treatment.
Military Diversion Program
Current or former members of the U.S. military suffering from PTSD, TBI, substance abuse, sexual trauma, or mental health issues are eligible for this program, which may last between one to two years. Common offenses that qualify for military diversion include:
- Possession of a controlled substance
- Misdemeanor assault and battery
Conditions for this diversion program include treatment sessions, counseling, progress reports, and random drug tests.
What Does Successful Completion of a Diversion Program Mean?
Successful completion of a pretrial diversion program includes:
- Completing all court-ordered conditions
- Paying restitution to the victim
- Complying with protective or stay-away orders
- Complying with orders prohibiting firearm possession (if applicable)
Should the defendant allegedly violate any of the terms of their diversion program, the court will hold a hearing to determine whether such a violation occurred. If the court finds the defendant did not adhere to the program’s conditions, their case will recommence.
Contact an Experienced Defense Lawyer at Dod Law
Dod Law, APC is prepared to protect your rights and best interest with their extensive knowledge and experience in California law. Criminal defense attorney Dod Ghassemkhani is dedicated to making sure you have representation you can trust. He understands how stressful it can be to face criminal charges. An experienced attorney like Attorney Dod can help you understand the charges you may be facing and the various defenses applicable to your case. Contact Dod Law office at (619) 814-5110 or fill out our contact form.