Over the past several years, California lawmakers have been overhauling the state’s criminal justice system in an effort to reduce the prison population. The latest law amed to curb jail and prison overcrowding went into effect on January 1, 2018, and changed how courts deal with cases involving simple possession of drugs.
Previously, if you were arrested for simple possession (in other words, possession for personal use only), the court could implement a deferred entry of judgment under California Penal Code Section 1000. Assembly Bill 208, which took effect at the start of 2018, made changes to PC 1000 so that pretrial diversion is now an option.
What does this change in law mean? Let’s explore the difference between deferred entry of judgment and pretrial diversion.
What is Deferred Entry of Judgment?
Deferred entry of judgment is essentially living life under the threat of a guilty judgment and sentence.
Under deferred entry of judgment, you are required to enter a plea of guilty with the court. However, your guilty plea will not be entered if you agree to:
- Enter a drug treatment program for a period of 18 months to 3 years
- Satisfactorily perform in the program, and
- Remain free of other criminal activity
If you fail to comply with any of these conditions, the court will enter its judgment that you are guilty and you will be sentenced for the crime.
What is Pretrial Diversion?
Pretrial diversion is similar, but you do not have to plead guilty to the offense in order to enter this program.
Under pretrial diversion, you are required to:
- Enroll in a drug treatment program lasting 12 to 18 months (or longer, if required by the circumstances of your case)
- Satisfactorily complete the program, and
- Refrain from committing any new crimes
With pretrial diversion, you have two chances to obtain a favorable outcome in your case. If you complete the program to the court’s satisfaction, your case will be dismissed. If you fail to meet the conditions required of your pretrial diversion program, your criminal case will resume. Your case will go to a non-jury trial, where your skilled criminal defense lawyer will attempt to get you the best possible outcome.
Contact the Criminal Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today
If you are accused of any drug possession charge, you should contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer who can help you find out if you qualify for pretrial diversion. Our skilled and knowledgeable criminal attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have been successfully defending clients accused of drug-related crimes for more than 35 years. We’ve helped thousands of clients in their time of legal need, and we can help you now.
We have offices located in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Victorville, West Covina, Torrance, Los Angeles and San Diego. Our experienced and skilled Wallin & Klarich criminal defense attorneys are available to help you no matter where you work or live.
Contact our law firm today at (888) 280-6839 for a free, no-obligation phone consultation. We will be there when you call.