Deferred Entry of Judgment for California Drug Crimes – Penal Code 1000
If you have been accused of certain California drug crimes, it might be possible to avoid a jail or prison sentence. Our Los Angeles criminal defense law firm assists clients avoid incarceration through a drug diversion program, commonly known as deferred entry of judgment.
Our experienced defense lawyers can help to determine how to best deal with your drug crime charges, and give you useful information about available California drug diversion programs.
It's no secret that a drug crime conviction can have life-altering consequences as criminal records can be accessed by employers. For undocumented immigrants, it could lead to deportation proceedings.
This means you need to take advantage of any opportunity to avoid a conviction for a drug crime, or to have the charges reduced to a lesser offense. Our drug crime attorneys have experience negotiating alternative sentences to avoid jail time, such as California Penal Code 1000 Drug Diversion.
If you have been charged with a drug crime, call our law firm to review all the details of your case to start developing a strategy for best possible outcome. We will also explain your legal options under deferred entry of judgement, which allows you the opportunity to get your drug charges dismissed with no conviction.
To give readers useful information about drug diversion options and deferred entry of judgment, our criminal defense attorneys are providing an overview below.
Drug Diversion – California Penal Code 1000
California Penal Code 1000, deferred Entry of Judgment (DEJ) is a program that allows some first-time drug offenders an opportunity to get their drug charges dismissed.
In other words, DEJ allows nonviolent first-time drug offenders to get treatment and education – rather than spending time in jail. Clearly, a huge benefit of DEJ is that if you successfully complete the terms of the program, you won't have a criminal record.
If you were arrested for a drug crime, call our Los Angeles criminal defense law firm to discuss your case and options. Depending on the details of your drug case – criminal record – we can provide you with information about eligibility for DEJ – along with potential defense strategies on the case.
What is the Process for Deferred Entry of Judgment?
If you meet DEJ eligibility requirements for DEJ, and obtain approval from the judge, you will have to enter a guilty plea in court to the drug charges. There are a few criminal courts in Los Angeles County that will allow a no contest plea, but most require a plea of guilty.
Next, rather than the judge imposing a sentence after the guilty plea, the sentencing hearing is postponed – typically for three years. However, if you successfully comply with the terms for 18 months, many criminal court judges will grant you and early dismissal of the drug charges.
The judge will order you to complete affirmative obligations that will include a drug treatment program. If you go back to court on the date of sentencing with all the obligations successfully completed, the judge will then permit you to withdraw your earlier guilty plea – and the drug case will be dismissed. This means you won't have a conviction on your record for the drug case.
What Are the Eligibility Requirements for DEJ?
It's important to note that only certain defendants will be eligible for DEJ – as it depends on the type of drug charge and your criminal history.
The charges need to be related to drug possession for personal use – meaning if you are charged with drug possession with intent to sell – you are not eligible for deferred entry of judgment – even with no criminal history. Your charges also can't involve any type of violence or threats of violence.
Common charges that are eligible for deferred entry of judgment include possession of a controlled substance under California Health and Safety Code 11350; Cultivation of marijuana for personal use under Health and Safety Code 11358; under the influence of controlled substance under Health and Safety Code 11550.
In addition to possession of marijuana, drug crime involving possession for personal use of heroin, methamphetamine, ecstasy, cocaine, and others could qualify for DEJ. Diversion is also normally available for California Penal Code 647(f), drunk in public cases.
When the judge is deciding on your DEJ eligibility, your criminal record is examined. You will not be granted DEJ if you have prior drug crime related convictions, revocation of probation or parole, participated in DEJ within the past five years, or any prior felony conviction within five years.
What are the Benefits of Deferred Entry of Judgment?
The primary benefit of deferred entry of judgement is the opportunity to get your drug charges dismissed – which allows you to answer “no” on applications for employment, or others, when you are asked if you have been convicted of a crime.
By law, judgment is only entered against you at sentencing – not at the time you pleaded guilty. This means once you successfully complete the DEJ program, your drug case is dismissed without a judgement being entered on your record. The initial drug crime arrest will be deemed a detention only.
It should be noted that in addition to DEJ under Penal Code 1000, there are other drug diversion programs, such as Proposition 36 and drug court. Consult with our law firm to determine which program is applicable to your drug charges.
What if I Don't Complete the DEJ Program?
You are responsible for your behavior on the DEJ program. It's an opportunity, not a legal right. We will not hold your hand and look over your shoulder to make sure you are in compliance – neither will the court. Daily life decisions are your responsibility.
There are a wide range of situations that will normally result in the court terminating deferred entry of judgment – and then sentence you to jail.
Common situations include missing a scheduled court date, not regularly attending counseling, failing a drug test, getting convicted for a violence related crime, or engaging in unlawful conduct.
How We Can Help You
If accused of a drug related crime, you should contact our criminal defense lawyers to review the details and legal options. A conviction on your record can have life-altering consequences.
We have a track record of success in all type of drug crime cases and know drug treatment programs available under deferred entry of judgment that can give you a chance at avoiding a conviction.
We need to first examine all the details in order to determine if you are eligible for DEJ. We can also discuss various defense strategies to achieve the best possible outcome on your case.
Cron, Israels & Stark is a criminal defense law firm with decades of combined experience. We are located at 11755 Wilshire Blvd, 15th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90025. Call us for a free case evaluation at (424) 372-3112.