Pre-trial diversion programs in California permit eligible defendants to avoid time in jail. These programs provide education and treatment for those defendants who otherwise would face convictions for misdemeanor offenses. The State of California also provides mental health diversion and military or veterans diversion programs. Misdemeanor diversion programs now allow defendants to enter the program without pleading guilty. How long do these diversion programs last?
Mental health diversion is derived from California Penal Code § 1001.36. The program allows individuals with mental health disorders to obtain treatment when charged with a criminal offense. Of course, any mental health treatment program is subject to court approval. Courts may require counseling, therapy sessions, and other treatment for substance abuse, either inpatient or outpatient. These treatment plans may last up to 24 months or two years. Defendants who complete their mental health programs may have their charges dismissed and sealed.
Misdemeanor diversion is derived from California Penal Code § 1000, which allows certain nonviolent misdemeanors to be diverted from the California criminal justice system if the defendant completes the required drug treatment or other courses. Before 2018, defendants were required to plead guilty as a requirement for diversion eligibility. However, this changed in 2018 and a defendant is no longer required to plead guilty.
This form of diversion refers to a disposition formerly called a “Deferred Entry of Judgment.” Now simply known as pretrial diversion, eligible drug defendants request the suspension of their case for 12 to 36-months while they complete approved drug education or rehabilitation programs. A defendant’s case resumes where it left off if the defendant fails to complete the diversion program but it no longer advances a case to sentencing.
A military or veteran’s diversion program involves assessment by courts as to whether a defendant should be ordered to participate in a federal or community-based treatment service program. Courts will give preference to treatment programs with a history of successfully treating individuals with trauma due to service in the military. These programs may include but are not limited to programs operated by the United States Department of Defense or the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. In general, military diversion programs last from 12 to 24 months. By law, the period during which criminal proceedings against a defendant may be diverted may not be longer than two years.
John Patrick Dolan defends those Californians charged with criminal offenses but he also helps them find the road to recovery through diversion programs and other available programs. Mr. Dolan has over forty years of experience helping well-intentioned Californians move forward from their criminal past and make lasting contributions to the Coachella Valley as valued members of the community. Call the Dolan Law Firm today at (760) 775-3739 or find out more online here.