In an effort to help reform our criminal justice system, legislators have launched a pilot program in Los Angeles County that helps offenders get rehabilitated and reformed, rather than punished. Codified as 10001.94 of the California Penal Code, the law allows for certain people to have their cases dismissed if certain conditions are met .
Not every offense will qualify under the Los Angeles diversion program. First off, the program only applies to misdemeanors, so even if the offense generally qualifies for dismissal under the program, if it is charged a felony, it will not qualify. The diversion program does not apply to the following offenses:
- DUI charges
- Weapons offenses
- Offenses involving a minor – Child pornography, Child Abuse, Etc.
- Offenses involved elders – Elder abuse, etc.
- Offenses involving dependent adults as victims
How Does the Program Work?
Prosecutors will review each and every set of facts, and available evidence after officers cite or arrest someone for an offense. This means that the person is under the suspicion of having committed that offense, but they are not yet charged. Prosecutors review each case to determine whether they should be charged. When prosecutors conduct this review, they will also review whether a person is a good candidate for the diversion program under 10001.94 PC. If they are, they will make a recommendation to the Judge.
However, even if a prosecutor deems a person ineligible under the Los Angeles diversion program, a person can motion the Court to reconsider the facts and make a separate determination.
If a person is found to qualify, they will be asked to enter a plea of guilty or nolo contendre (no contest). This plea will not go on their formal record but will remain on the record only within the Courtroom. The person charged will then be asked to complete certain conditions. These conditions could include counseling, education groups, fines, or restitution. Once the conditions have been fulfilled and proven to the court, the Court will dismiss the charges, keeping the person’s record clean.
This program is an extremely useful tool for anyone who qualifies for the program. It helps keep their record clean, and allows them to learn from the situation and make better choices in the future. It is especially applicable to people who have just made a mistake, and want the chance to make amends.
If you find yourself facing criminal charges, it is in your best interest to fight them with the best possible argument. If your case qualifies under this Los Angeles diversion program, you could have all of the charges against you dismissed. It is highly recommended that you speak to a Los Angeles Criminal Attorney with over thirty years of experience. Although this legislation is fairly new, knowledgeable attorneys have already successfully had many cases dismissed and favorably argued under this new legislation. Do not hesitate, make the best decision you can for your future and contact an attorney as soon as possible. They will guide you through the process ensuring the best possible results!