Pretrial misdemeanor diversion refers to the procedure of postponing prosecution of an offense filed as a misdemeanor either temporarily or permanently at any point in the judicial process from the point at which the accused, or divertee, is charged until adjudication. Any misdemeanor diversion program is reviewed annually by the district attorney of each county in California and may not continue without the district attorney’s approval.
At no time are defendants required to make an admission of guilt as a prerequisite for placement in a pretrial diversion program. A divertee is entitled to a hearing, as set forth by law, before his or her pretrial diversion may be terminated for cause.
No statement, or information taken from the defendant in connection with the determination of his or her eligibility for diversion, nor taken subsequent to the granting of diversion or while participating in the diversion program, no information contained in any report, and no statement or other information concerning the defendant’s participation in such a program is admissible in any action or proceeding.
However, if a divertee is recommended for termination for cause, information regarding his or her participation in such program may be used for purposes of the termination proceedings.
At the time a divertee is recommended for the program, any bail bond is exonerated. If the divertee has performed satisfactorily during the diversion period, the criminal charges are dismissed at the end of the diversion period.
Upon successful completion of a diversion program, the underlying arrest for the diverted charge is deemed to have never occurred. The divertee may indicate in response to any question concerning his or her prior criminal record that he or she was not arrested or diverted for the offense. A record pertaining to an arrest resulting in the successful completion of a diversion program cannot, without the divertee’s consent, be used in any way that may result in the denial of any employment, benefit, license, or certificate.
John Patrick Dolan is a California State Bar Certified Specialist in Criminal Law. Certification as a Specialist in Criminal Law is the highest achievement awarded by the State Bar of California to attorneys in the field of criminal law. The attorneys at the Dolan Law Offices have decades of experience defending individuals charged with violent felonies. Call us today at (760) 775-3739 or find out more online here.