Assembly Bill No. 3234 (AB 3234), also known as PC 1001.95, expands opportunities for second chances by allowing California courts to initiate misdemeanor diversion programs. According to Assemblymember Phil Ting, judges will now have “the discretion to place first-time misdemeanor offenders in a diversion program,” even over the objection of a prosecuting attorney.
What Is a Misdemeanor Diversion Program?
Diversion is a process that prioritizes counseling, treatment, and behavior modification over punishment. In a misdemeanor diversion program, a defendant may be “diverted” to a treatment center instead of facing criminal charges.
As long as the defendant completes the requirements of their diversion program, the court will not press charges, and the defendant will not have a misdemeanor on their record. For example, consider a drunk driver who gets arrested for the first time. Instead of charging this person with a misdemeanor, the court may decide to send them to an alcohol rehabilitation program. If the drunk driver completes rehab and all other components of the court-ordered diversion program, it will be like the crime never happened.
What Misdemeanors Qualify for Diversion?
Under AB 3234, almost all misdemeanor cases can qualify for diversion, including DUIs and traffic offenses. Whether you get placed into a misdemeanor diversion program will depend on the judge’s discretion. Misdemeanor diversion programs can last for up to 24 months (2 years), and any violation of the program can resume criminal proceedings.
To return to our previous example, if a drunk driver leaves rehab or drives on a suspended license, the judge can reopen the criminal case and charge the defendant with a misdemeanor DUI.
What Do I Have to Do?
If you get arrested or charged with a misdemeanor, call a criminal defense attorney right away. Your attorney should work with judges and prosecuting lawyers to help you enter a misdemeanor diversion program or otherwise get your charges dismissed.
After entering into a diversion program, you may have to attend classes, perform community service, pay fines and victim restitution, and meet with a therapist, counselor, or support group. Fulfilling the requirements of a diversion program can keep you out of jail and help keep your record clean when you are applying for jobs and housing.
At Beahm Law, we get results for our clients. In many cases, we can get the whole case dismissed, and in others, we have had success with dismissals via diversion. Our top-rated attorney is available 24/7 and ready to provide personalized representation.
Call us at (844) 811-5444 or contact us online to get started today.