A criminal conviction does not always result in jail or prison. In some cases, you may be able to avoid going to jail or prison by agreeing to participate in a diversion program. Your eligibility for a diversion program depends largely on such factors as the type of crime you committed and if you have any prior offenses on your criminal record. Sometimes you must fight for the opportunity to participate in one of these programs. An experienced defense attorney like Lynn Gorelick can represent you in court and negotiate with the judge for a diversion program instead of jail, prison, or other penalties.
What are Criminal Diversion programs in California?
Diversion programs were designed to help certain offenders overcome their bad habits and addictions. It is believed that it is more effective to counsel an offender than just throw him or her behind bars. When treatment and counseling is made available, and offenders are given the resources they need to work through their issues, problems, and addictions, the chances of those individuals committing another crime in the future decrease significantly. In California there are multiple diversion programs available, such as:
Under Prop 36, non-violent drug offenders and 2nd time simple drug offenders agree to attend a drug treatment program as part of their probation, instead of going to jail. If an offender can make it through the entire program successfully, then his or her charges will be dismissed. The conditions of this arrangement are determined on a cases-by-case basis, and will result in specific treatment for the offender.
Drug offenders participating in this program are required to submit to random drug testing, daily counseling, weekly progress reports before the judge, and mandatory attendance at a 12-step meeting. Upon completion of the program, the court will dismiss all related drug charges.
Penal Code 1000:
Offenders who qualify for this diversion program attend a four-month class that meets once a week. As long as the offender successfully completes the program and does not get charged with another offense within 18 months, then his or her charges will be dropped.
Getting help and advice about diversion programs
If you are charged with committing a crime in Contra Costa County, Alameda County or anywhere else in the San Francisco Bay area, we can help you determine your options relative to both defenses and diversion programs. If eligible, we can help you fight to get into a diversion program. However, not all criminal charges are diversion eligible, and we can help you understand what is and what is not an option in your case.