In the ever-changing landscape that is the California criminal justice system, the concept of pretrial diversion stands as a means of getting all charges dismissed before trial. Pretrial diversion is a legal mechanism that allows certain individuals to bypass the traditional prosecutorial process in favor of rehabilitative programs. Often times, if completed successfully, a judicial officer can review the diversion and dismiss all charges against the accused.
Designed to prioritize rehabilitation over punishment, pretrial diversion recognizes that some who are caught up in the criminal justice system are best served by allowing a resolution that avoids incarceration or a criminal record. By completing specific court-approved programs and meeting predetermined conditions, individuals can have their charges dismissed, leaving them without a criminal record related to that incident. In this way, pretrial diversion not only provides a second chance for many but also underscores California’s broader push towards a more compassionate, rehabilitative justice system.
What Is Pretrial Diversion?
Pretrial diversion is an alternative to the traditional approach used by the criminal justice system. In most cases, after an arrest, the defendant is arraigned, where they
Pretrial Diversion Programs in Los Angeles
The California Penal Code contains several different pretrial diversion programs. In addition, each county is free to adopt and implement its own pretrial diversion programs. For example, some of the most common diversionary programs include:
- Drug diversion under Cal. Penal Code § 1000
- Mental health diversion under Cal. Penal Code § 100.36
- Military diversion under Cal. Penal Code § 1001.81
Of course, each diversion program has different eligibility criteria, and often, the judge or district attorney has some discretion over whether a defendant is permitted to participate in the program.
What is “Deferred-Entry of Judgement”?
Deferred-entry of judgement is also a pretrial legal mechanism that allows a accused to attain a full dismissal of all charges. Under a deferred entry of judgement, the court may take a plea from the accused, but will defer entry of judgment util after some stipulated condition is completed (i.e., community service, various programs, etc.). Upon competition, a judicial officer can review the conditions to ensure completeness. And if completed, the accused can ask for a complete dismissal of their charges.
This is a means to protecting a criminal record, so as to to affect employment, education, or travel. It was also avoid the harsh penalties imposed by the system, including fines and jail time. It requires skill to negotiate for a deferred entry of judgement or plea deal. It is recommended that if you are facing criminal charges or accusations, to consult with an attorney regarding the path forward.
A Successful Example of How Pretrial Diversion Works in Real Life
To many, the idea of pretrial diversion sounds too good to be true. After all, if you are eligible for a diversionary program and complete all necessary requirements, the charges against you will be dropped. This will spare you from spending any time in jail as well as from the potentially devastating effects of having a criminal record.
However, diversionary programs are a reality. And in some cases, you may even be deemed eligible for diversion if you are initially charged with a more serious crime that would prevent you from participating in a diversion program.
Barhoma Law, P.C. recently handled such a case involving a client who was charged with two felony offenses and one wobbler, which is a crime that can be either a misdemeanor or felony. Early on, Barhoma Law, P.C. attorneys met with the client and discussed the possibility of diversion; however, due to the presence of two felony crimes on the charging document, the client was not eligible.
As a part of our comprehensive defense strategy, Barhoma Law, P.C. attorneys successfully advocated for the court to dismiss the felony charges. Once the felony crimes were no longer a part of the client’s case, we then shifted gears, negotiating with prosecutors in hopes of obtaining their agreement that pretrial diversion was the best solution for the client as well as the safety of the community. Eventually, the prosecution agreed, the wobbler was graded as a misdemeanor, and the client was permitted to participate in a diversionary program.
Recently, the client successfully completed all required terms of the diversionary program, primarily consisting of community service, and the charges were dropped.
This is an example of why it is important to work with an experienced Los Angeles pretrial diversion lawyer. Had Barhoma Law, P.C. not thought ahead well in advance of trial to eliminate the felonies, the client would not have been eligible for diversion, and he would have either needed to take the case to trial or enter a plea agreement.
Learn More About Pretrial Diversion Options in California
If you were recently arrested for the first time, or it’s been years since your last criminal conviction, you may be eligible for a pretrial diversion program. At Barhoma Law, P.C., our Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers have experience guiding clients through the pretrial diversion process and attaining dismissal of all charges. Consulting with the right lawyer is material to aging the right outcome in your case. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation, call Barhoma Law, P.C. at 213-800-7664. You can also reach us through our online contact form.