California Penal Code section 1001.95 provides diversion programs that result in dismissal of the misdemeanor cases with successful completion. This law allows a Judge the discretion, even over prosecution objection, to authorize diversion with dismissal upon successful completion for most misdemeanors. It is not available for DUI, Domestic Violence, Stalking or PC 290 registerable sex offenses. In addition to this diversion, current or prior military personnel may qualify for Military diversion, which is different, and covers all misdemeanors including DUI and Domestic violence (See California PC 1001.80 for Military Diversion).
Misdemeanor diversion programs aim to provide an alternative to traditional criminal prosecution for eligible individuals and with the incentive to avoid a criminal record with successful completion. The goal is to address the root causes of the criminal behavior and prevent future criminal activity through rehabilitation and education.
Here’s a general overview of how the process might work under PC 1001.95:
- Eligibility: A Defendant may be eligible for misdemeanor diversion if they meet certain criteria and are charged with a qualifying offense.
- Request for Diversion: The defendant, typically with the assistance of their attorney, may request participation in the diversion program. The court will then consider the request.
- Diversion Program Requirements: If accepted into the program, the defendant must complete specific requirements and comply with certain conditions, which may include community service, counseling, educational programs, or other rehabilitative measures. The exact requirements and length of the diversion can vary based on the nature of the offense and the individual’s circumstances. It shall not exceed 2 years and is usually much shorter.
- Successful Completion: Upon successful completion of the diversion program, the court shall dismiss the charges against the individual and the arrest will be deemed to have never occurred and shall not be used, without the Defendant’s consent, in any way that could result in denial of employment, benefit, license or certificate. (The arrest can only be considered and must be disclosed on an application to be be peace officer.)
- Case Dismissal: If the defendant meets all the requirements of the diversion program, the court shall dismiss the charges. This dismissal is without an adjudication of guilt, meaning the individual won’t have a criminal conviction.
It’s crucial to consult with a legal professional to understand the specific details of PC 1001.95 and how it applies to your case. Laws can change, and legal advice should be based on the most up-to-date information available. If you’re facing criminal charges in California, consider consulting with a criminal defense attorney to discuss the best course of action for your situation.