A conviction for a first-time criminal offense—whether it’s a felony or a misdemeanor—can result in a jail or prison time, fines, and other penalties, including a criminal record that could follow you for the rest of your life. However, the courts understand that many first-time offenders suffer from addiction or mental health issues.
In California, there are a few pretrial diversion programs that can help you avoid a criminal conviction by giving you the treatment necessary to avoid becoming a repeat offender. If you successfully complete a diversion program, the criminal charges you face will be dropped and your criminal record will be sealed. However, their case will resume if you fail to complete the program.
The following are three types of diversion programs in California:
- Low-level misdemeanor/drug diversion program – Individuals who have been charged with a first-time, low-level misdemeanor can enter this type of diversion program. Some of the common types of crimes that can be diverted include possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, being under the influence of a controlled substance, and public intoxication. Defendants will be given a certain amount of time to complete several conditions, including probation, drug or alcohol treatment, educational or vocational classes, random drug testing, and restitution.
- Mental health diversion program – Individuals who have a mental health disorder can receive treatment through this program if they have been charged with a non-violent and non-sexual misdemeanor or felony. This inpatient or outpatient treatment plan can last up to two years. The court often requires drug treatment, therapy sessions, and counseling.
- Military diversion program – Current or former members of the U.S. military who are suffering from PTSD, TBI, substance abuse, sexual trauma, or other mental health issues are eligible for this program, which lasts between one year and two years. Common offenses that qualify for military diversion include DUI, possession of a controlled substance, and misdemeanor assault and battery. Conditions for this program include treatment sessions, counseling, progress reports, and random drug testing.
If you have been charged with a misdemeanor or felony in Riverside, contact Blumenthal & Moore today at (951) 682-5110 and request a free consultation.