New Pre-trial Diversion Program for Firearm Offenses in the Works

by | Mar 29, 2015 | Criminal Defense

California has some of the toughest gun laws in the nation—and some of the most confusing. Recognizing the complexity of the state’s firearm statute and the numerous regulations that have been introduced over the years, the California Legislature has introduced a new bill, Penal Code 2.9C 1001.80, to establish a pretrial diversion program for persons who are arrested for nonviolent misdemeanor or felony firearms offenses.

The pretrial diversion program would be an educational program and serve as an alternative to prosecution for those who qualify. By educating offenders and encouraging responsible gun ownership, the Legislature hopes the diversion program will help reduce, and even eliminate future violations. It also aims to reduce accidents involving firearms and the misuse of firearms.

With the myriad of firearm regulations and laws, this new program is good news for California gun owners who want to be responsible and follow the law. Some may not know, for example, that under California Penal Code Section 27545, it is a violation of California law for a person who is not licensed as a California firearms dealer to transfer a firearm to another unlicensed person, without conducting such a transfer through a licensed firearms dealer. And such a transfer may be punished as a felony. This may be an offense for which the offender would be eligible for the diversion program.

The program would postpone, either temporarily or permanently, prosecution of an offense, and may begin at any point in the judicial process. If the individual completes the diversion program satisfactorily, the criminal charges will be dismissed. Any record filed with the Department of Justice would be updated to show the dismissal and the arrest record will be deemed never to have occurred.

When determining who will qualify for the program, prosecutors can look at whether the defendant has been on probation or parole, and whether it has ever been revoked, whether the defendant has ever participated in the diversion program before; and whether the defendant lives in certain areas, such as by a school.

The Legislature will, however, specify the guidelines and define the criteria, application, and procedures for the diversion program. There will be costs associated with the program, but no one will be denied participation solely because he or she cannot pay.

If you would like more info or if you have been charged with a gun crime, contact The Rodriguez Law Group today for a free consultation.

To learn more, call our Los Angeles criminal defense law firm at 213-995-6767 or visit our contact us page to send us an email.