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Drug Diversion Programs -

       In most California counties, there are two different types of drug treatment or drug diversion programs that may be permitted, depending on the nature of the drug charges. Generally, transportation and sales of drugs or furnishing drugs to minors will not be subject to drug diversion.

Deferred Entry of Judgment (DEJ)

       One common form of diversion is called DEJ or Deferred Entry of Judgment. It is usually offered to a first-time drug offender who only is charged withunderthe influence or simple possession of drugs for personal use. The program last six months and usually involves attending 12-step meetings, submission to random drug testing, attending group sessions and assessment referrals.

       A person will enter a plea of guilty to the charge with a stated sentence, for example 90 days county jail, and then the proceedings are stayed pending the DEJ program. If the person successfully completes the program, at the end of the six months the court will then set aside the prior guilty plea and dismiss the underlying criminal charge. The result is that there is no longer a conviction on the person's criminal record and the case is cleared.

Proposition 36

       For other cases, there is Prop 36 that is also known as the Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act passed by the voters in November, 2000. This is a different type of diversion that is designed for nonviolent offenders who are charged with simple drug possession even if they have a prior offense. Basically it is an alternative treatment to jail and the increasing costs of incarceration with a strong and lengthy rehabilitation program including SLE (sober living environments), outpatient treatment, and drug education classes.

Difference between Proposition 36 and DEJ

       The difference from DEJ and Prop 36 in that in DEJ (Deferred Entry of Judgment) the person will end up with a conviction on their record but it is designed to offer the most help to the drug user while at the same time saving the general public from the costs of warehousing people who need treatment. Go to www.prop36.org for further information as to the alternatives to jail.

- Written by , Attorney at Law


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