Facing drug crime charges can have serious consequences, especially if the judge finds you guilty of the offense. You may face jail time and receive fine payment orders that could harm your general circumstances. Despite this, you can avoid facing the formal criminal justice system by joining the pre-trial diversion program for drug crimes.
Upon diverting your case, you will be subject to different court directives that the presiding judge expects you to fulfill. With proper observation of the regulations, you can expect a favorable case outcome that prevents you from serving time in jail. A pre-trial diversion program for drug crimes requires understanding the different obligations placed on you. Therefore, working with an experienced criminal attorney is advisable to guide you throughout the process.
At the California Criminal Lawyer Group, you will receive helpful insights backed by legal knowledge on the best way to navigate the diversion program. You can also rely on your attorney to promptly provide useful court information to enable you to make court appearances and submit progress reports.
The support you receive from your lawyer is also beneficial for future reference, particularly if your matter comes up in a different hearing. You can count on us to provide quality legal services for you or your loved ones looking to join a Long Beach, California, pre-trial diversion program.
What Pre-Trial Diversion for Drug Crimes Entails
A typical criminal court case begins with arrest, followed by court arraignment for trial and sentencing, if necessary. The process applies to all cases, including drug crime charges against the arrested suspect. Although the criminal justice system is uniform, some exceptions apply in drug crime cases, allowing the defendant to join a pre-trial diversion program.
The essence of diversion is to allow you to receive drug treatment to prevent future drug use. Moreover, the diversion program aims to reduce case backlogs in court by allowing you to fulfill different court requirements that guarantee your case's completion.
A drug diversion program is ideal if you face drug crime charges because you can avoid jail time and other harsh court orders. The process requires you to forgo your right to a speedy trial in formal court to complete your treatment within the court’s parameters.
What Drug Diversion Treatment Entails
You want to assess the available services before determining whether a drug diversion program is best for you. Broadly, the program gives you access to rehabilitative treatment to help you combat drug or alcohol addiction. With the help of trained professionals, you will uncover the main causes of your addiction and find ways to address them without jeopardizing your well-being.
The diversion program also allows you to apply alternative remedies for the drug offense you committed. Among them are paying restitution to any victims of your crime and undertaking probationary requirements like community service and mandatory group counseling.
Depending on various case circumstances, the presiding judge retains discretion in determining the most suitable directives to issue. As a result, you may receive different directives than another defendant, as the court aims to provide effective treatment obligations for each party.
While the drug diversion program is suitable for most arrested suspects, it is only available to a specific range of defendants. Under Section 1000 of the California Penal Code, the drug diversion program provides an alternative to parties involved in nonviolent drug crimes that attract misdemeanor charges. You can establish whether you meet the eligibility criteria by speaking to your defense attorney.
Factors to Consider Before Joining the Pretrial Diversion Program
Since the court places several eligibility criteria for parties seeking to join the program, you must verify your case circumstances. In doing so, you can determine whether you are a suitable candidate or whether to forfeit the application. Your defense attorney will assess your criminal history and the nature of your current charge to ensure you fit into the requirements list. The following are the main factors to consider before requesting to join the program:
Your Criminal Charges Do Not Involve Violence or Threats of Violence
The law does not intend to prevent arrested suspects whose cases involve violence from participating in the formal trial process. Doing so would prevent them from facing the sentences necessary to push for behavioral reform and retribution. Based on this, the presiding judge will only consider your drug crime case if it is violent-free.
This restriction also applies to cases involving threats of violence, meaning that you may miss out on the diversion program if you threaten your victims. A rationale for extending the restriction is that threats of violence may materialize when committing a drug crime, putting the victim in danger. Due to the case's seriousness, you will be excluded from the charges.
Your criminal defense lawyer should help you assess the facts of your case to ascertain that you did not engage in violence or make threats of violence. They can obtain witness statements and police reports recorded after your arrest to ensure the prosecutor knows the facts before presenting them to the judge. After the presiding judge verifies your position, you are one step closer to joining the pre-trial diversion program.
You Have Not Committed a Felony Crime in Five Years
The diversion program also restricts access to parties with a history of felony charges, as serious crimes warrant harsh sentences. Felony crimes often involve harming victims and creating substantial losses, resulting in their classification as serious offenses. Parties with a previous felony charge are subsequently excluded from benefiting from the pretrial drug diversion program.
Although the restriction applies straightforwardly, your attorney may push for your consideration if your previous charges resulted in a plea deal. Many plea deals result in reduced charges or a sentence issued to match a misdemeanor case outcome. Before presenting this argument, your attorney should ensure that all court records correspond to avoid creating confusion with the records.
The Prosecutor Lacks Evidence That You Committed a Crime Resulting in Ineligibility
Additionally, the provisions of Section 1000 of the Penal Code should be guidelines for admission to the pre-trial diversion program. Since they exclude some offenses and classify them as ineligible for diversion, the prosecutor may try to allege that you committed these offenses.
Your attorney can combat this position by pointing out the prosecutor’s lack of evidence of your involvement in the offenses. By taking up this position, your attorney must gather all necessary evidential sources to ensure your rebuttal is credible and persuasive. If they are successful, you can expect the judge to authorize your entry into the diversion program.
Types of Pretrial Diversion for Drug Crimes
The justice system also provides different diversion programs for parties, depending on various factors. The general diversion program is available for defendants without any distinguishable need for different treatment and attention, meaning they only need drug treatment support.
On the other hand, special programs are available for people who served or are serving in the military and those living with mental health conditions. Each division provides diversion services to cater to emerging needs.
You will also need to meet specific eligibility criteria to ensure you receive support and beneficial treatment for your recovery. Some information necessary to better understand the two special divisions includes:
Military Pretrial Diversion for Drug Crimes
Persons who serve in the military, including past and current service members, qualify for military diversion treatment. This division is important to give them the specialized treatment that meets their needs, as many face serious trauma during service.
Section 1001.80 provides for the military pre-trial program, allowing any service member facing a misdemeanor drug-related charge to benefit from treatment. The restriction on misdemeanor offenders reflects the main eligibility criteria discussed above, which prevent felony offenders from evading sentences in the formal court process.
Elements Considered When Checking for Eligibility for Military Pretrial Program
Since many service members present applications to join the pre-trial diversion program, the court must ascertain their suitability by assessing their eligibility. The following are elements considered:
You have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Many military servicemen develop PTSD during or after service, mainly because of the serious and graphic circumstances within which they execute duties. The condition may manifest in various ways, causing severe reactions when you face a trigger. Using drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism is common, warranting the need for treatment in a diversion program.
If you face PTSD from time in service, your attorney can help you obtain a doctor’s report or note to ascertain your condition when seeking consideration to join the program. Additionally, the judge may request more details about the condition directly from you, so you may have to make a court appearance. If so, your attorney can accompany you and help make your presentation.
You Struggle With Substance Abuse
Alternatively, the court may require you to establish your dependence on drugs or alcohol during your service. Although admitting to and providing information about your addiction is difficult, it is a necessary step to help you meet the criteria. With your lawyer’s help, you can obtain a formal diagnosis from a qualified professional to help you obtain the evidence necessary for your case to proceed to diversion.
You Faced Sexual Trauma or Abuse During Service
Sometimes, the conditions in service may be unsafe and harsh, resulting in sexual trauma from abuse. The details may vary, as some are vulnerable to fellow service members while others suffer hostility from local groups during wars. You need to identify the specifics of your case with your attorney to help establish your position and link it to your current drug or alcohol use.
In doing so, you justify joining the pretrial diversion program instead of facing a formal trial because you need specialized treatment and support. The court may require certified documents from the relevant military department to determine whether they are aware of the incident as corroboration for your case.
You Suffered From a Traumatic Brain Injury
Sustaining injuries in service are also common, including traumatic brain injuries that may affect your normal brain functioning. The injury may arise from an impact while in action, linking any subsequent conditions that result in drug use to your position as a military member.
Although outcomes may vary, severe brain injury can cause memory loss, the sudden onset of anxiety or depression, and speech issues. You may have therefore resorted to drugs to help you adjust to your injuries, leading to your arrest. By pleading your position to the presiding judge, you can persuade them to move your case to the military pre-trial diversion, where you can receive helpful treatment options.
Medical records will be essential when pleading your case, so your attorney needs to consolidate all sources on time. They will contact your doctor on your behalf and arrange for a document presentation in court, so you do not have to worry about undertaking these roles yourself.
You Suffer From Mental Health Problems from Your Time in Service
Apart from PTSD, you may also develop other mental health problems from military service because of exposure to harsh conditions. You must list the specific conditions you face, accompanied by formal diagnostic documents from a verified medical professional.
After receiving your documents, the court may decide to retain you in the military pretrial diversion program or move you to the mental health diversion program. They determine this based on case circumstances, resulting in different outcomes for varying defendants.
Terms to Meet During the Military Diversion Program
After joining the military pretrial diversion program, the court directs you to meet several obligations for successful completion. Meeting all requirements is necessary, as it is the only way to have your case dismissed when the program concludes. They include:
Accepting Treatment for Substance Abuse
Once in the program, you want to comply with the treatment terms, including attending all doctor’s appointments and completing your drug prescriptions. The medical professional you work with may also create a diet regimen to help you respond better to treatment, particularly to reduce withdrawal symptoms. Part of your compliance should also extend to meeting this directive and all others issued.
Attend Therapy Sessions
Individual and group therapy sessions are important in military drug diversion because they provide a platform to discuss all issues leading to your drug addiction. Therefore, you must attend all scheduled sessions, and the professional you work with will log your attendance for accountability purposes.
Undertake Victim Restitution Orders
Although you may have justified reasons for your involvement in drug crimes owing to your military background, the court can still issue victim restitution. These orders aim to help the victims affected by your crime return to their original lives before your actions negatively affect them. For example, if your offense involved a DUI that caused an accident, you must pay for the property damage to the victim’s vehicle.
Complete Probation Orders
The presiding judge may also issue probation orders if they find it necessary for your case. These often encompass attending mandatory DUI classes for a DUI offender, community service, therapy sessions, and any other court order. You will report to a probation officer under formal probation or directly to the court under informal probation before the judge can move to close your case.
Mental Health Pre-Trial Diversion for Drug Crimes
Patients with mental health conditions may also be prone to drug use, resulting in a drug crime charge. The pre-trial diversion will therefore be useful to ensure you receive the therapy and treatment you need to return to your everyday life.
Under the mental health diversion program, you must commit to receiving treatment for up to two years before the court can consider dismissing your case. This calls for consistency in your treatment, whether inpatient or outpatient, in alignment with Section 1001.36, which provides for mental health diversion.
Eligibility Criteria to Meet Before Joining the Mental Health Diversion Program
Like military diversion programs, you need to meet various requirements before the court can divert you from a formal court trial. The main eligibility criteria list for mental health diversion requires that:
You Have a Diagnosed Mental Health Condition
A major prerequisite to meet is presenting a verified diagnosis for living with a mental health condition after seeing a certified medical professional. After receiving the diagnosis documents, your attorney can present them to court for the judge’s consideration in authorizing your entry into the diversion program.
If you are still undiagnosed but strongly believe you face a certain condition, you can schedule an appointment with a certified medical professional before the court decides. Scheduling the appointment is important because the court is cautious not to make decisions based on assumptions.
Your Medical Professional Recommends the DIversion of Treatment
Receiving a green light from an experienced medical professional on joining the diversion program is also crucial, as it demonstrates their belief that you will benefit from it. Based on this, you want to consult your doctor and request a recommendation, which you can forward to your attorney for court presentation. While the contents of the doctor’s opinion are highly persuasive in court, the judge may choose to consider alternative assessments as well, so it alone does not guarantee your entry into the diversion program.
Your Mental Health Diagnosis is Not Antisocial Personality Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, or Pedophilia
While mental health conditions generally affect patients, courts do not accept some conditions as a prerequisite to joining the diversion program. Persons dealing with antisocial personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, or pedophilia are ineligible because the conditions often involve violence and harm to victims, which contravene other legal provisions. Additionally, conditions like pedophilia still raise controversial societal views, hence the restrictions.
You Do Not Pose a Threat to Public Security
Since entry into the pre-trial diversion program results in your release from custody, the court must first establish that you do not pose harm to the general public upon release. Due to this, your case must not have included violence or threats of violence, as discussed earlier. Additionally, your mental health condition should not be associated with potentially violent outbursts or threats of retaliatory action against victims.
The treatment options available in a mental health diversion program are similar to those in the military program, and they may vary depending on your specific needs. After completing the court’s directives, you will have your case dismissed and your records sealed, allowing you to return to your everyday life.
What to Expect if You Are Unable to Complete the Program
Sometimes, parties are unable to complete the diversion program for various reasons. For example, if a mental health expert establishes that your reaction to treatment is unsatisfactory, the court may revoke your access to the program. Further, involvement in a new violent offense during the treatment period will also result in non-completion of the program.
The outcome of your removal from the pre-trial diversion program is reinstating your formal case process, meaning you will return to a formal hearing as a defendant. Due to this, you are answerable for the crime, and the prosecutor will file a case against you and aim to prove your guilty intent. With your attorney’s help, you will raise your defenses to counter the case, and the judge will determine whether you are guilty of the drug crime.
Find a Pasadena Criminal Attorney Near Me
Drug crime charges are common, warranting you, as the arrested person, to seek legal redress alternatives as soon as possible. Among them is the pre-trial diversion program for drug crimes, which allows you to seek alternative remedies to prevent future involvement in using or distributing drugs. Before joining the pre-trial program, you need accurate information about your rights and the requirements to meet during the diversion period. An experienced criminal attorney can guide you through the steps, making it easier for you to complete the program smoothly.
At California Criminal Lawyer Group, we dedicate our services to providing high-quality legal services for clients facing drug crime accusations in Long Beach, California. We aim to provide support from the start by providing valuable information on the program. Further, we are happy to answer any questions and represent you in court if necessary. If you or a loved one requires reliable criminal services, contact us at 526-966-8120.