Judicial diversion in California is a program that allows certain defendants to avoid a criminal conviction by completing a treatment program or community service. The program is available for some low-level drug offenses, as well as certain other offenses.
Under judicial diversion, a defendant pleads guilty to the charges against them, but the judge suspends the proceedings and orders the defendant to complete a treatment program or other requirements, such as community service. Successful completion of the program can result in the dismissal of the charges against the defendant.
To be eligible for judicial diversion, a defendant must meet certain criteria, including:
- Being charged with a qualifying offense, such as a low-level drug offense or a non-violent property offense.
- Having no prior convictions for certain violent or serious felonies.
- Being willing to participate in a treatment program or other requirements and comply with all program requirements.
- Being deemed suitable for diversion by the court.
The treatment program or other requirements under judicial diversion can vary depending on the offense and the defendant's needs. For example, a defendant may be required to complete drug treatment, counseling, or community service.
If a defendant successfully completes the judicial diversion program, their charges may be dismissed, and they may avoid having a criminal conviction on their record. However, failure to complete the program or commit new crimes may result in the resumption of the criminal proceedings and possible conviction.
Judicial diversion in California is governed by Penal Code section 1000-1000.8 and section 1210.1-1210.9, which outline the requirements, eligibility criteria, and procedures for judicial diversion programs.
Penal Code section 1000-1000.8, also known as the Pretrial Diversion of Drug Offenders Act, establishes the eligibility requirements for judicial diversion for certain low-level drug offenses, as well as the conditions and requirements of the program.
Penal Code section 1210.1-1210.9, also known as the Deferred Entry of Judgment (DEJ) program, allows for judicial diversion for certain non-violent offenses, including drug offenses, prostitution, and theft.
These statutes provide the legal framework for judicial diversion programs in California and establish the requirements and procedures that must be followed by courts, probation departments, and defendants participating in the program.