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California Drug Diversion Laws: Prop. 36 and PC-1000

California 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.

Drug Diversion

If you or someone you care about has been arrested for simple drug possession or being under the influence of drugs, jail or prison may be avoided by undergoing treatment in what is referred to as drug diversion, "deferred entry of judgment," or Prop. 36. For individuals charged with felony or misdemeanor drug charges, a defense attorney may be able to have your charge dismissed by way of a California diversion program or alternative sentencing scheme. The information below is a starting point for learning more about your legal rights and options. To speak with an aggressive and experienced attorney, call The Law Offices of Daniel E. Kann at (888) 744-7730 today for a free consultation.

Avoid Jail Time & Get a Fresh Start

Facing life-altering consequences for a drug charge often presents a person with serious obstacles to overcome in their personal and professional lives. With the help of a skilled lawyer, the process of defending your rights and entering a drug diversion program can be constructive and done with support and guidance.

In California, a person facing drug charges may qualify for entry into a drug diversion program either under Proposition 36 or PC-1000.

Because substance abuse and dependency is such a multi-layered issue that affects countless people, California law is structured such that certain eligible defendants are offered the chance to turn their lives around. Depending on the specific circumstances of your situation, it may be best to enter a drug diversion program in order to clear your name of any charges and restore your well-being by breaking the grip of involvement with drugs. Entering a drug diversion program is a serious time commitment and will give those who succeed the opportunity for a fresh start with no jail time being served and the charges being dropped upon completion.

Choosing between the drug diversion options of Proposition 36 and PC-1000 can be a confusing process. However, with the assistance of a knowledgeable lawyer, you can choose the program that offers you the brightest promise for your future.

What is PC-1000 Drug Diversion?

In PC-1000 drug diversion cases, also referred to as deferred entry of judgment or "DEJ" for short, a defendant will plead guilty to the drug charge and the judge will delay sentencing or judgment of a finding of guilt for 18 months.

Timeline Details

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 as a conviction.


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.

Potential Problems with Violations

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.

Who is Eligible for the PC-1000 Drug Diversion Program?

The PC-1000 drug diversion program is generally available to drug offenders who are charged with simple possession or being under the influence, and 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 you are not eligible for PC-1000 because you are charged with a more serious drug charge such as Possession for Sales or Transportation of Narcotics, a skilled drug crime defense attorney may be able to have your charge reduced to a less serious possession related charge that would make you eligible for PC-1000.

What is Proposition 36 Probation?

In the Proposition 36 probation program, the drug offender will enter a plea to the drug charge and as a condition of probation. He or she will also be ordered to complete up to three years of drug treatment and counseling as proscribed by the probation department.

Levels of Treatment

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 way demonstrates that they are not succeeding in the program, a higher more stringent level of treatment may be assigned.

Potential Problems with Violations

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.

Who is Eligible for the Prop 36 Program?

Most people 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. As with PC-1000, if you are not eligible for Prop. 36 probation because you are charged with a more serious drug charge such as Possession for Sales or Transportation of Narcotics, a skilled drug crime defense attorney may be able to have your charge reduced to a less serious possession related charge that would make you eligible for Prop. 36 probation.

Years of Experience Getting Clients Drug Diversion

Daniel E. Kann has dedicated many years to defending the rights of individuals facing a wide range of drug charges. As an attorney familiar with local courts and judges throughout the counties of Los Angeles and Ventura, Daniel E. Kann knows the ins and outs of drug diversion program protocols, serving his clients in protecting their rights and best interests. For a no-cost consultation and to learn more about how you may be able to avoid jail time for a drug charge, contact us as soon as possible.