California law, in Penal Code § 1000 contains the requirements of the state’s pretrial diversion program for those charged with drug crimes of simple possession. The program, formerly known as a deferred entry of judgment (“DEJ”), “diverts” many drug offenders who have committed non-violent crimes from spending time in jail to education and treatment for their substance abuse. What are the requirements for PC 1000 pretrial diversion and who is eligible?
In past years, when the California Penal Code 1000 Pre-Trial Diversion Program was referred to as a DEJ, defendants were required to plead guilty to the drug charges as a pre-requisite to participation in the program. Once the treatment plan was completed by the defendant, the charges to which they plead guilty would be dismissed, and no criminal record would remain for most purposes. If the treatment plan was not completed by the defendant, the charges and the guilty plea would stand.
As of January 1, 2018, this is no longer the law. Defendants may now plead “not guilty” to drug charges and still maintain eligibility to participate in the PC 1000 drug treatment diversion program, provided they meet all other requirements. Under § 1000, a defendant’s case is suspended for 12 to 36-months while he or she completes an approved drug education or rehabilitation program. In this case, if the treatment plan is not completed by the defendant, the charges remain, and the defendant is entitled to a bench trial (trial before a judge).
Eligibility for the PC 1000 pretrial diversion program is reserved for individuals charged with simple possession of drugs, i.e., possession only for personal use purposes. Anyone charged with selling a controlled substance, as well as transporting or possession of a controlled substance for sale, under California Health & Safety Code § 11351 is generally not eligible for the PC 1000 pretrial diversion program.
California Penal Code § 1000 lists those drug offense statutes to which § 1000 and the diversion program apply. Defendants may still be eligible if other crimes such as illegal cultivation and forging a prescription may have occurred. For example, PC 1000 may still be available in circumstances where the marijuana planted, cultivated, harvested, dried, or processed was for personal use, or if the narcotic drug secured by a fictitious prescription, was for the personal use of the defendant and not sold or furnished to another person.
As well as its limited application to specific possessory drug offenses, defendants must meet all the following four conditions to be eligible for the PC 1000 diversion program:
- The defendant must not have been convicted of a drug crime that is otherwise not eligible for the PC 1000 program within the prior five years;
- Any drug offense for which a defendant is charged must not have included circumstances where a violent crime or threat of violence occurred;
- There must be no evidence of any additional and more serious drug crimes, such as sale or possession of controlled substances for sale); and
- The defendant must not have been convicted of any felony within the prior five years.
If you are experiencing problems with substance abuse and have been charged with a crime, the resolution of your matter through the Riverside County Drug Court may be an option. Drug diversion programs allow some defendants charged with simple, non-violent drug possession crimes to complete drug treatment rather than serve jail time. John Patrick Dolan is a California State Bar Certified Specialist in Criminal Law, the highest achievement awarded by the State Bar of California to attorneys in the field of criminal law. Call today at (760) 775-3739 or find out more online here.