If you or a loved one are facing a drug crimes charge in Coachella Valley or throughout California, a conviction can often bring with it substantial jail or prison time. For many non-violent drug offenders, however, California drug diversion programs are available and can eliminate incarceration time in exchange for completion of a drug treatment and education program.
At The Law Office of David J. Givot, we are greatly familiar with the details of Proposition 36, as well as California's other drug diversion programs. David J. Givot has long experience as a drug crimes defense attorney in the Coachella Valley region of California, and he will know how to maximize your chances of getting enrolled in the Prop 36 (or another) drug diversion program. He has well-seasoned negotiation skills and knows how to get charges reduced so as to make defendants eligible for Prop 36 who otherwise would not be.
To learn more or for a free legal consultation, call us anytime 24/7 at 888-293-0396.
What Is Prop 36?
Prop 36 was approved by the voters of California in 2000 and is more formally referred to as The Substance Abuse & Crime Prevention Act of 2000.
Prop 36 automatically allows certain non-violent drug offenders to enter a drug treatment program instead of spending time in jail or prison. The law has many details involved in determining who is eligible, but those who are eligible have a right to the program. This differs from PC 1000 (deferred entry of judgment), another California drug diversion program, in that entry into PC 1000 is at the judge's discretion even if you are eligible.
Prop 36 is found in the California state Penal Code under sections 1210, 1210.1, and 3063.1. The program allows those who complete it to not only avoid jail time but also to ultimately get their drug crime charge dismissed instead of having it on their permanent criminal record.
The program will include such things as detox, drug abuse education, "narcotic replacement therapy," and ongoing residential care. Those who qualify are enrolled in a program that will last up to 12 months, and this can be extended up to an additional 12 months.
Eligibility for Prop 36
Both first and second time drug crime offenders can qualify under Prop 36, provided they are non-violent drug crime convictions. Additionally, many people who violate parole with a non-violent drug crime are put in a Prop 36 treatment program instead of serving jail time.
Simple possession of a controlled substance, illegal possession of under an ounce of marijuana, being under the influence of a controlled substance, and transport of a controlled substance for personal use only all qualify as "non-violent" drug crimes under Prop 36.
However, crimes that disallow participation in the Prop 36 drug diversion program include: possession for sale, sale or transport for sale of a controlled substance, cultivation of marijuana for any purpose, drug possession while carrying a loaded gun, possession of drugs while incarcerated, and forgery of a drug prescription.
Note that cultivation of marijuana for personal use and forgery of prescriptions for personal use of the drug do not exclude you from entry into the PC 1000 (deferred entry of judgment) drug diversion program.
Besides the nature of the offense, your personal criminal history will also affect eligibility for Prop 36. Those who have a "strike" on their record for a prior violent crime are generally disqualified if that offense took place within the previous five years. And, if you you were convicted of another crime along with the past drug crime, this is also disqualifying (unless the judge gives you a waiver). Also, those who were armed with a "deadly weapon" while committing an otherwise non-violent drug crime, those who refuse drug treatment, and those who have already been in Prop 36 programs twice in the past are all disqualified.
At The Law Office of David J. Givot, we can help you to discover if you are eligible for Prop 36 programs and, if you are, fight to ensure your eligibility is respected. Also, we can fight for a charge reduction to render you eligible. Finally, note that you can fight for a dismissal/acquittal, and even if you lose in that attempt, later enter a Prop 36 program. Thus, eligibility for Prop 36 does not mean we will not do everything possible to avoid a conviction to begin with.
How the Prop 36 Program Works
To avail yourself of the Prop 36 drug diversion program, you must enter a "guilty" or "no contest" plea for a non-violent drug crime or be convicted of such a crime. Or, if you are already on parole and have violated your parole terms with a non-violent drug crime, you can also qualify.
If, however, you are deemed "unamenable to treatment," due to major and/or repeated violation of Prop 36 program rules, you can be sentenced to jail/prison time. But, as long as you complete the drug treatment program and do not violate any of the other terms that apply, you will be eligible to have your charges dismissed. The presiding judge can opt not to dismiss the charges even then, however, if he/she believes you did not benefit from the drug treatment program or if you committed other crimes during the treatment period.
After one has successfully completed the Prop 36 drug diversion program, he/she must then make a formal petition to the court to have the drug crime charge dismissed. The judge will determine whether or not he/she believes you truly complied with the terms of your probation, fulfilled all drug treatment and education requirements, are not a danger to society, and are no longer abusing (nor likely to again soon abuse) a controlled substance.
Is Prop 36 Working?
Due to these strict requirements at the program's end, only a third of those enrolled under Prop 36 actually got their charges dismissed in the early years of the program. However, around another third receive as much treatment time as those who complete the program, and around three-quarters show substantial progress. Additionally, Prop 36 is thought to save California taxpayers around $1.5 billion per year and put some 50,000 drug offenders into treatment programs each year (many of them for the first time).
Thus, the 61% of California voters who passed the Prop 36 referendum in 2000 can say that the program is about as successful as other state-run drug diversion programs. They can also say that it has helped a third of participants avoid jail time and three-quarters of participants at least make some measurable progress with their drug abuse/addiction habits.
The Benefits of Expungement
The process of dismissing charges after completion of the Prop 36 drug diversion program is technically called "expungement." This erases the record of your arrest and the charge filed against you, and so goes well beyond just preventing a conviction.
There are only a few exceptions to this clean-slate policy. One, you cannot own or carry a concealed firearm. Two, you must release the fact of your drug crime arrest if applying to become a police officer, for a public office, or to serve on a jury.
Otherwise, you are legally able to say that you were never arrested or convicted of the drug crime. It cannot be used against you as to employment or educational opportunities.
Contact Us Today
At The Law Office of David J. Givot, we have deep experience in handling all manner of California drug crimes cases. Attorney David J. Givot has successfully gotten numerous past clients enrolled in Prop 36 or in another drug diversion program and preventing their having to spend time in jail. He has the legal expertise and dedication to each client he serves to do the same for you.
For a free consultation on the details of your drug crimes case, contact The Law Office of David J. Givot 24/7/365 by calling 888-293-0396.