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In January this year California introduced a new misdemeanor diversion law, AB 3234. Judges throughout the state can now offer a diversion program to a individuals that are charged with misdemeanors. They can do this even if the prosecutor handling the case objects, as long as the misdemeanor qualifies.

How Does Diversion Work?

A diversion program is an alternative to criminal prosecution. Instead of a trial, the judge may “divert” the case and order the defendant to complete specific terms, conditions, and programs. Each county has its own Misdemeanor Diversion program. The judge can delay the case, a continuance, – for up to 2 years. During the delay the defendant is required to comply with all orders and complete the county program. If they successfully complete the program, the case is dismissed.

Successful completion of a diversion program usually includes:

  • Completing court-ordered conditions
  • Restitution to the victim
  • Complying with any orders made by the court

A violation of any terms of the diversion program results in the court holding a hearing to determine if the violation occurred. If the court finds that a violation occurred then the program terminates and the original trial proceeds.

What Misdemeanors qualify for Diversion?

Misdemeanors include, but are not limited to:

  • Vehicular manslaughter
  • Elder abuse
  • Child abuse
  • Assault
  • Hate crimes
  • Carrying a concealed firearm
  • Possession of a firearm in a school zone
  • Criminal threats
  • Dissuading a witness

Some misdemeanors that may are not eligible for diversion program.

  • Offenses requiring sex offender registration
  • Corporal injury to a spouse
  • Battery
  • Stalking

Completing a Diversion Program

Completing a misdemeanor diversion program avoids a costly and lengthy trial. There are still costs, but they are less than going to a full trial.

Over the long term completion of a diversion program avoids a criminal record. As the case is dismissed on completion of the program and compliance with all the orders. It is like the arrest never occurred. This means that the arrest will not show up on the individual’s criminal record. Legally it can be said no arrest ever occurred*. No employment, benefits, or licensing decision may be based on the arrest.

*The Department of Justice can still access the arrest information. If directly asked during the hiring process about past arrests truthful must answers are required so inform an employer of the previous arrest, in order to comply with truth and honesty requirements.

Case Studies
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Kathy’s DUI

In a DUI case, we convinced the District Attorney Kathy was not no driving. The District Attorney agreed to dismiss all charges against the Kathy and have her license reinstated. Kathy has no public record of a DUI

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Miguel was stopped for allegedly weaving across traffic and speeding . Miguel’s eyes were red, watery, glassy and there were ashes in the car. The arresting Officer reported that Mike admitted to that he was under the influence of marijuana while driving. Miguel allegedly failed a field sobriety test.

Our team negotiated with the Prosecutor and the case was reduced from a DUI to a traffic infraction. Miguel now has no DUI on his public record

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I thought my career and life were over!

I was arrested for DUI. I thought my goose was cooked. My only hope was to hire the best DUI attorney I could. Thankfully I found Jim and he was able to help save my license and my job!

Steve H.

The team was willing to fight my DUI!

I want to thank you for your attention to detail. I had a prior offense 9 years ago, but this second time could have be a real mess. I was scared and you all helped me get through it.

J. Lopez

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