Deferred Entry of Judgment Drug Diversion Program
Many non-violent drug offenders would benefit more from treatment and education than from jail and a criminal record.
Penal Code 1000 PC is California’s Deferred Entry of Judgment ( DEJ ) program allows offenders an alternative to prison or other criminal punishments. It is a drug diversion program that allows eligible defendants to be diverted out of the criminal court system and into a drug rehabilitation program.
Tom Wilson Counseling Center offers an Online 26 Hour Deferred Entry of Judgment Drug Diversion Class for out of state residents who receive a drug charge offense in the State of California and cannot find other in-person solutions or alternatives.
Ask your attorney to determine if you are eligible.
Overview of Penal Code 1000 PC
Deferred Entry of Judgment, defined in Penal Code 1000 PC, allows eligible defendants the opportunity to have their criminal proceedings suspended while they attempt to complete a drug treatment program.
Generally speaking, the defendant enters a guilty plea to the charge(s). If the judge determines that the defendant is a good candidate for drug diversion, he/she will suspend the criminal proceedings, typically for a period of 18 months, although it may be as long as three years, while the defendant participates in a drug rehabilitation program.
A drug rehabilitation program is one that has been certified or deemed credible and effective by the applicable county drug program administrator. The defendant may request to be referred to a program in any county, as long as the program meets this criteria. All programs include at least some of the following curriculum:
- an initial assessment of the defendant,
- a minimum of 20 hours of effective education and/or counseling, and
- an exit conference which shall reflect the defendant’s progress during his/her participation in the program.
If the defendant successfully completes the program, the judge dismisses the charges and, with only a few exceptions, the defendant may truthfully state that he/she has never been arrested for the charged offense.
However, if the judge does not believe that the defendant would benefit from treatment or the defendant does not successfully complete his/her course of treatment, the judge will impose sentence on the charge(s).
Before a defendant can participate in California’s deferred entry of judgment program, he/she must be eligible to do so. Eligibility is primarily based on two factors:
- the charged offense(s), and
- the defendant’s personal history.
The charged offense(s)
California drug diversion is only offered in connection with certain qualifying offenses. If your charged offense/offenses are not specifically listed under Penal Code 1000 PC, you will not be able to participate in this deferred entry of judgment program.
There are essentially two criteria for these offenses:
- they must involve personally possessing or using drugs as opposed to possessing them for sale or actually selling them, and
- the crime must not involve any allegations of violence or threatened violence.
The most common examples of these California drug crimes include (but are not limited to) violations of:
- Health and Safety Code 11377 HS and Health and Safety Code 11350 HS California’s laws against personal possession of a controlled substance
- Health and Safety Code 11357 HS California’s law against possession of less than one ounce of marijuana
- Health and Safety Code 11358 HS California’s law against cultivating marijuana 10 (if you can prove that you only cultivated the marijuana for your own personal use)
- Health and Safety Code 11364 HS California’s law against possessing drug paraphernalia
- Health and Safety Code 11365 HS California’s law against knowingly being in a place where drugs are being used
- Health and Safety Code 11550 HS California’s law against being under the influence of a controlled substance
- Health and Safety Code 11368 HS California’s law against forging or presenting a forged prescription to obtain drugs (if you can prove that the acquired controlled substances were exclusively for your personal use)
- Vehicle Code 23222(b) VC California’s law against driving while in possession of marijuana
- Penal Code 647(f) PC California’s drunk in public law (if you were under the influence of drugs or drugs and alcohol, as opposed to just alcohol)
- Penal Code 653f(d) PC California’s law against soliciting drug sales or transportation17 (if you can prove that you only “solicited”…that is, encouraged…another person to engage in these activities so that you could exclusively acquire drugs for your personal use)
Some of the controlled substances that are covered by these laws include:
cocaine, heroin, peyote, gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB), ecstasy (X), ketamine (Special K), methamphetamines, marijuana, certain hallucinogenic substances, such as phencyclidine (“PCP”), and even certain prescription drugs such as codeine, and hydrocodone (Vicodin).
Penal Code 1000 PC California’s DEJ program is not only applicable to a much wider variety of crimes than its counterpart California Proposition 36 but is also much less restrictive. This is because PC 1000 allows convictions for certain offenses that Prop. 36 does not.
These offenses include, for example,
- cultivating marijuana for your personal use, and
- forging prescriptions for your personal use.21
Your personal history
Even if the charged offense qualifies you for DEJ, you must still prove that you are personally eligible for drug diversion. In order to qualify, you cannot have;
- any prior drug-related convictions,
- had your probation or parole revoked without completing your terms and conditions,
- participated in a drug diversion or DEJ program within five years prior to the alleged commission of the charged offense, and
- any prior felony convictions within five years prior to the alleged commission of the charged offense.22
If you do not meet these criteria, the judge will declare you ineligible for deferred entry of judgment and sentence you on the charged offense(s).
Sentencing in Connection with Deferred Entry of Judgment
Once the judge determines that you are a good candidate for Penal Code 1000 PC California’s deferred entry of judgment program, you must enter a guilty plea to the applicable charge(s). At that point, you waive time for the pronouncement of judgment, which means that you give the court permission to postpone sentencing, so that you can participate in drug diversion.
At the court’s request, the court’s local probation department will conduct an investigation as to what course of treatment is most appropriate. It will consider factors such as the defendant’s age, any employment and/or service records, education, community and family ties, and any prior drug history (including any prior treatment history).
But regardless of what the probation department recommends, the ultimate decision as to what type of treatment should be offered is up to the judge.
If the prosecutor, probation department or the court believes that you are failing to adhere to the program, are not benefiting from treatment, have been convicted of a) a felony, or b) a misdemeanor that reflects your propensity for violence, or c) have engaged in any criminal activity that renders you unsuitable for DEJ, the judge may enter judgment on the guilty plea and will set a sentencing hearing to determine the appropriate punishment for the charge(s). However, if you successfully complete the program, the court is required to dismiss the charge(s).
Successful Completion of DEJ
What makes drug diversion so attractive is the fact that your criminal charge(s) will be automatically dismissed as long as you successfully complete the program. Once your charges are dismissed, it is almost as if the arrest legally never occurred.
There is an exception to this general principle. You and the Department of Justice must disclose the arrest if you apply to become a peace officer. Other than that, when you successfully complete your deferred entry of judgment program, “the arrest upon which the judgment was deferred shall be deemed to have never occurred”. This means that you can truthfully state that you have never been arrested or granted deferred entry of judgment for the offense, and the arrest record cannot be used in any way to affect your employment or a professional license or certificate.
ALL classes developed and monitored by Tom Wilson, a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor who is also a Certified Alcohol and Substance Prevention Specialist. Tom is the author of “Taming Anger and Aggression”, an anger management program which has been taught to hundreds of people at the counseling center over the last twelve years. He specializes in adapting evidence-based substance abuse prevention programs for delivery through the web and other electronic media.