Drug Diversion Programs in Los Angeles

There are possibilities for avoiding jail or prison for certain types of drug crime cases.  If you are facing criminal drug charges, you should consult with Damian Siwek, an experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorney, at DCS Defense to discuss your options for drug diversion programs available under current state law.

Deferred Entry of Judgment (California Penal Code§1000)

Deferred Entry of Judgment (also known as DEJ or Drug Diversion) is a sentencing alternative to jail or prison available to individuals who have been charged with certain drug offenses.  DEJ is the suspension of criminal proceedings for a prescribed period of time with certain conditions imposed after a defendant’s guilty plea.

For example, in DEJ, the defendant pleads guilty to the drug charge, but sentencing is continued to a later time (Usually 6 to 18 months).  Sentencing remains suspended so long as the defendant satisfies various conditions (e.g., drug treatment, court appearances, counseling, drug testing).  If the defendant does not successfully fulfill the conditions of the DEJ, the criminal proceedings resume, and the defendant, having already pled guilty, is sentenced.  On the other hand, if the defendant successfully meets the conditions of DEJ, the criminal charges are dismissed and the defendant may, with certain exceptions, legally answer that he or she has never been convicted of the diverted offense.  In essence, the defendant is given an opportunity to get their drug charges dismissed.

Deferrable Drug Offenses

Not all drug offenses are eligible for Deferred Entry of Judgment.  The deferrable drug offenses are contained in California Penal Code section 1000(a), and they include:

  • Possessing controlled substances and/or restricted drugs;
  • Possessing marijuana;
  • Possessing drug paraphernalia;
  • Aiding, assisting or abetting the unlawful use of controlled substances;
  • Possessing prescription medications without a prescription;
  • Using or being under the influence of a controlled substance;
  • Possessing a glue-like substance with the intent to inhale it and become intoxicated;
  • Cultivating marijuana for personal use; and
  • Creating or using a forged or altered narcotic medication prescription for personal use.

Other DEJ Requirements

In addition to the drug offense being deferrable, all of the following conditions also have to be satisfied:

  • The defendant has no prior controlled substance convictions;
  • The current case cannot involve a crime of violence or threatened violence;
  • The current case cannot involve a drug offense that is not deferrable (e.g., if the defendant is charged with possession of marijuana (a deferrable offense) and driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol (not a deferrable offense) DEJ would not be available);
  • Any prior probation or parole must have been successfully completed;
  • The defendant has had no felony convictions for the past five years; and
  • The defendant cannot have been granted deferred entry of judgment (DEJ) previously.
  • Prior unsuccessful termination of DEJ

Ultimately, getting the criminal charge dismissed depends on the defendant’s actions and motivation.  A number of situations can result in the court terminating DEJ, entering judgment (i.e., conviction of the drug charge) and sentencing the defendant to jail or state prison, they include:

  • The defendant fails the DEJ program (e.g., not appearing in court, failing drug tests, not going to counseling);
  • The defendant is not benefiting from education, treatment, or rehabilitation;
  • The defendant is convicted of a misdemeanor that reflects the defendant’s propensity for violence;
  • The defendant is convicted of a felony; or
  • The defendant has engaged in criminal conduct rendering him or her unsuitable for deferred entry of judgment.

If you are terminated from the DEJ program, then Proposition 36 may be available to you.

Drug Crime Defense Attorney in Los Angeles

Drug convictions are extremely serious and have life-changing consequences.  In California, these convictions can be seen by employers, landlords, banks and others.  They can haunt you for the rest of your life by affecting prospective employment, renting an apartment, immigration and naturalization.

It is important to do everything possible to prevent a conviction for a drug charge or to reduce the charge in order to minimize the impact it could have on your life. At DCS Defense, we are experienced in negotiating alternative sentences (e.g., a drug treatment program) rather than jail.  Let us explain your options and provide an aggressive defense.

A California drug charge is a serious matter.  You need a skilled criminal defense attorney on your side and we are prepared to meet with you and your family to privately and confidentially discuss the specific facts of your case as well as your options.

For aggressive and effective representation against criminal drug charges, including a free confidential consultation, contact Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Damian Siwek at DCS Defense.