Ventura Drug Diversion Lawyer
Los Angeles Proposition 36: Treatment Instead of Jail
- A primary difference between the Proposition 36 program and the PC-1000 drug diversion program, is that PC-1000 only entails about five to six months of classes and drug testing followed by twelve (12) months of informal probation, while the Proposition 36 program can last about three years and entails a much more stringent treatment, testing and counseling regiment.
- California voters passed Proposition 36 in 2000, which allows eligible defendants convicted of non-violent drug possession or intoxication charges to enter treatment rather than being sent to jail.
- Proposition 36 is also available to some defendants who fail to successfully complete the less stringent drug diversion program known as PC-1000 because they picked up new drug charges or they failed to pass mandatory drug tests.
- A felony drug charge can be reduced to a misdemeanor and dismissed upon successful completion of a California drug diversion program.
- The Proposition 36 program allows for two probation violations, for which the court can allow the client to remain in the program. A third violation of the Proposition 36 program will result in termination and sentencing for the underlying charge will be imposed. Such sentencing can include a prison term.
California’s Proposition 36 and PC-1000 drug diversion programs allow defendants charged with simple drug possession or being under the influence of drugs to undergo treatment instead of jail. Such dispositions are sometimes referred to as “deferred entry of judgment.”
In PC-1000 drug diversion cases, a defendant will plead guilty or no contest to the drug charge and the judge will delay sentencing or judgment on a finding of guilt for 18 months. For the first five to six months the defendant will undergo substance abuse counseling and random drug testing. Thereafter, the defendant is placed on twelve (12) months of unsupervised probation. If the defendant successfully completes the initial five to six months of counseling and testing and manages not to pick up any new criminal cases during the remaining twelve (12) months of probation, the case is ultimately dismissed and will not appear on the person’s criminal record. In fact, the law states “the arrest … shall be deemed to have never occurred.”
Additionally, state licensing boards or other professional licensing boards (nurses, lawyers, doctors, and other licensed professionals) may not use the arrest in seeking professional sanctions against a defendant who successfully completes the PC-1000 program.
The PC-1000 drug diversion program is generally available to drug offenders who have not had a previous drug conviction or to those who have successfully completed the PC-1000 program more than 5 years prior to the current arrest.
If a defendant who has been granted the PC-1000 probation fails to complete the program he or she may be sentenced on the underlying charge or they may in some cases enter the more extensive Proposition 36 program. A defendant can fail to complete the program by not completing treatment, by getting arrested, or testing positive for drugs during the probation period.
In the Proposition 36 probation program, the drug offender will enter a plea to the drug charge and as a condition of probation, will be ordered to complete up to three years of drug treatment and counseling as proscribed by the probation department. Proposition 36 probation is generally tailored to the needs of the individual who is entering the program. At the initial intake interview, the Proposition 36 probation officer assigned to the case will evaluate the probationer to determine what degree of treatment will be appropriate. There are six levels of Prop. 36 treatment. The first level being the least stringent, usually entails out-patient counseling and random drug testing. Treatment then ranges in levels of intensity up to the sixth level which generally entails in-patient residential drug treatment. The level of treatment that a particular individual must undergo during the program will often fluctuate during the course of the program. If a particular individual is successful and compliant with the rules and orders of the program, they will be reassigned to lower levels of treatment. If an individual is not compliant, violates probation, or in some demonstrates that they are not succeeding in the program, a higher more stringent level of treatment may be assigned.
The first time that a drug offender who is placed on Prop. 36 probation violates the terms of his probation, the judge must allow him or her to continue in the program as long as the violation is solely drug related. The second time that Prop. 36 probation is violated, the judge may allow the probationer to continue on in the program as long as the violation is drug related, but it is discretionary. The third time that Prop. 36 probation is violated, the judge must terminate Prop. 36 probation and impose the sentence on the underlying drug offense which often entails a prison term in the California Department of Corrections penal system.
Most people who are charged with simple drug possession in California, are eligible to take part in the Proposition 36 program. Those who are not eligible to take part are those who are charged with sales related drug charges or non-drug related charges and individuals who have suffered convictions in the past five years that fall under California’s strike law provisions.
A Santa Clarita drug crime defense attorney experienced in dealing with drug violations in California can make a big difference in the outcome of your case. If you are facing misdemeanor or felony drug charges, The Law Offices of Daniel E. Kann offers a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights.