If you have been charged with a drug crime in Coachella Valley, Palm Desert, Palm Springs, Rancho Mirage, Indian Wells, or surrounding areas, your first option is always to fight for a dismissal or an acquittal. But in cases where that is not possible, it is crucial to have a drug crimes defense lawyer on your side who knows how to get you into a drug diversion program.
At the Law Office of David J. Givot, we are fully familiar will all of California's drug diversion programs, including PC 1000. David J. Givot has the experience and the negotiating skills to get you into the PC 1000, deferred entry of judgment, program whenever at all possible. He can fight for a plea to reduce your charge from one that disallows PC 1000 to one that allows it, and he can bring to bear any mitigating factors that will help win the approval of the judge for entry into this program.
About PC 1000
California has several drug diversion programs. The eligibility and details of each program differ, but all of them are designed to help keep you out of jail even if you are convicted of a drug crime. In the case of California Penal Code Section 1000, the program also makes it possible to keep the drug crime conviction off of your permanent criminal record.
PC 1000 is for non-violent, first-time offenders only. It exchanges incarceration time for drug treatment time. If the treatment program is completed by the defendant, and all other terms of the plea are met, the original drug charge will be dismissed and not made part of your police record.
A plea of "guilty" is made to the charge in order to qualify for the program, and drug treatment will continue anywhere from 18 months to 3 years. The program must be state-approved and will include the following elements: initial assessment, 20 or more hours of drug abuse education, and an "exit conference."
If the defendant fails to complete the diversion program, he/she will be sentenced on the original drug crime charge and likely spend time in jail.
Who Is Eligible for PC 1000?
There are a number of factors that will determine if you are eligible for deferred entry of judgment (DEJ) under PC Section 1000. They can be summarized, however, under two basic categories: the nature of the charge against you and your past personal/criminal history.
As to the charge, it can only be simple possession of a controlled substance. It cannot be possession for sale, drug transport, drug sale and distribution, or the like. However, more serious charges can often be reduced to simple possession as part of a plea agreement.
The crime must generally be a misdemeanor instead of a felony and cannot involve any acts or threats of violence against others.
There are numerous specific drug crimes that fall within the scope of PC 1000 eligibility, including: simple possession for personal use, possession of marijuana (less than an ounce), cultivation of marijuana for personal use, forging prescriptions if for personal use of the drug, possessing drug "paraphernalia," being "knowingly" in a place where illegal drugs are used, and being under the influence of a controlled substance.
Even if the charge against you does not disqualify you from PC 1000, you must also lack previous drug crime convictions on your record, not have failed to complete a previous parole/probation term, not have already had deferred entry of judgment in the previous 5 years, and not have any felony convictions within the past 5 years.
In sum, we can say that PC 1000 encompasses a wide array of drug crimes as to eligibility, many more than does, for example, Prop 36. While not all are eligible for the PC 1000 drug diversion program, most non-violent first-time offenders generally are.
How DEJ (PC 1000) Works
If you are deemed eligible for deferred entry of judgment on your drug crime charge, you must then plead "guilty" and grant the court permission to postpone handing down your sentence while you go through the drug treatment/education program the court assigns.
The local probation department will then investigate what might be the best form of treatment for you to be enrolled in. They will consider your age, community ties, employment status, educational level, and previous personal history regarding drug use. They will ultimately give a recommendation to the judge, who must approve of the proposed treatment program.
If the court comes to believe that you are not fulfilling the treatment program, are not benefiting from it, or have committed a new, violent and/or felony crime, the program will be ended and you will be subject to the original sentence, which will likely include jail time.
If you successfully follow through on the program, however, your charges will be dismissed. This means that, in the eyes of the law, it is the same as if you were never arrested and charged with a drug crime. The only exception is that the arrest must be disclosed if you apply to become a police officer. This means there is no drug crime entered on your criminal record that could adversely affect your ability to get a job, be accepted into a college, or anything else.
Other Drug Diversion Programs
As mentioned above, PC 1000 (deferred entry of judgment) is not the only drug diversion program in California. There are two other options that you might qualify for: Prop 36 and "drug court." At The Law Office of David J. Givot, we can help you determine which drug diversion program best fits your situation and which ones you can qualify for. We can also negotiate with the prosecution to maximize the chances of gaining admittance into one of these programs.
Prop 36, or California Penal Code Sections 1210, 1210.1, and 3063.1, differs from PC 1000 in several ways. First, Prop 36 is more restrictive in regard to eligibility. PC 1000 allows those convicted of prior felony charges to (sometimes, at least) still be eligible, but the Prop 36 drug diversion program does not. Also, those who enter the Prop 36 program are put on "formal probation," which adds many more terms to comply with than under PC 1000. Also, those eligible for Prop 36 are entitled to be enrolled in the program, whereas, it is fully at the presiding judge's discretion if an eligible candidate shall be entered in PC 1000.
Finally, and most importantly, even those who complete the Prop 36 program do not automatically get their charges dismissed. The judge could still refuse to do so if he/she feels that to be appropriate. Under PC 1000, however, those who complete the drug diversion program are entitled to have their charge dismissed.
A third option for a drug diversion program is PC 1000.5, typically referred to as "drug court." This is similar to DEJ under PC 1000, and it involves getting your charge dismissed at the end of treatment. If you fail to complete the treatment satisfactorily, as with PC 1000, the original sentence will return. However, the difference is that in drug court you do not have to enter a plea of "guilty" to avail yourself of the program. Not just the sentencing but the whole criminal proceeding is held "in limbo" while you go through the drug treatment and education program.
Contact Us Today
At The Law Office of David J. Givot, we have an intricate knowledge of PC 1000 and other California drug diversion programs. We understand who is eligible and how to work for a reduced charge that will make you eligible.
Attorney David J. Givot will fight to defeat the charges brought against you, but when an outright victory is not obtainable, he will secure for you the best possible ruling. That often means getting into a drug diversion program, like PC 1000, instead of spending time in jail/prison.
To learn more or for a free legal consultation, contact David J. Givot 24/7 at 888-293-0396.