A lot of people are caught up in the criminal justice system after making a simple mistake. Instead of having a criminal record that may brand you for the rest of your life, some counties are offering pre-filing diversion programs. Alameda County has been granting motions for dismissal with diversion for many people facing low-level, non-violent offenses.
If the court approves your dismissal motion, you may never be charged with a criminal offense and will have no conviction on your record. Talk to your East Bay criminal defense attorney about whether diversion may be right for you and how to get the court to approve your case.
Dismissal with “Diversion” in Alameda County
There are a number of possible diversion programs available in Alameda County, this may include:
- Drug diversion
- Mental health diversion
- Juvenile diversion
- Penal Code 1001.95 diversion
- Back on Track Deferred Entry of Judgment
- Prop 36 diversion
- Military member diversion
- AB 3234 diversion
There is a long backlog of people facing minor criminal charges in Alameda County, for a number of non-violent offenses or first-time arrests. The courts and jail have a hard time keeping up and instead of focusing on these minor offenses, clearing the backlog can allow the prosecutors to focus on more serious issues. In response, the Alameda County District Attorney and judges may grant pre-filing diversion motions.
How Does Dismissal Work?
If you are approved for the program, you will have to enter into an agreement with the court. Diversion is like probation. You will have to meet a number of requirements to stay in the program. If you fail to complete the program, you could face criminal sentencing or increased restrictions. Diversion requirements may include:
- Drug tests
- Substance abuse counseling
- Mental health counseling
- Education programs
- Random searches
- Checking in with probation officers
- Paying the cost of the program
If you successfully complete the pre-filing diversion, there will be no criminal charges filed and you will have a clean record. A background check for most employers will not show any criminal history, which can help you find a job or housing in the future.
Which Charges are Eligible for Diversion
There are many misdemeanor and juvenile offenses that may be eligible for diversion. Depending on the diversion program and age of the offender, some of the most common criminal charges that may be eligible for diversion include:
- 1st-time DUI
- Petty theft
- Drug possession
- Possession of drug paraphernalia
- Disorderly conduct
Should I Take Dismissal with Diversion?
Diversion programs are not for everyone. The court may not grant diversion to every misdemeanor. Some misdemeanor offenses are ineligible for diversion, including sex crimes and some domestic violence charges. Even if you are eligible, it does not mean the judge will grant diversion.
If you do not think that you will be able to complete the terms and conditions of diversion, you may want to challenge the charges in court. Talk to your lawyer about the restrictions that may be put into place and if you can accept them for a year or however long the program lasts.
If you are not guilty of any crime, you may not want to plead guilty to something you didn't do. You may have a better chance at challenging the criminal offense in court than having to live under a diversion program for a year. Talk to your lawyer about your case and your options to keep your record clear.
Help from East Bay Criminal Defense Lawyer
East Bay attorney Lynn Gorelick has more than 37 years of criminal defense experience and understands the challenges involved. Helping families in Alameda County and Contra Costa County, contact the local criminal defense lawyer who understands that there are multiple ways to avoid a criminal conviction.