What is Diversion and Intervention in Lieu of Conviction?
Do you need help understanding what diversion and intervention in lieu of conviction is? This article will explain what you need to know.
In California, if you are accused of specific types of crimes you may be eligible for a pretrial treatment and education program instead of a criminal conviction. If you successfully complete a diversion and intervention program, your criminal case will be dismissed, and the records may be sealed.
Diversion and intervention programs are a great opportunity to reach a favorable conclusion to your case. These programs offer treatment that can meaningfully help people as well. However, the program is not easy, and failing to finish successfully will land you right back in criminal court.
Understanding What Diversion and Intervention in Lieu of Conviction is in Los Angeles
Understanding the eligibility requirements is the first step in understanding what diversion and intervention in lieu of conviction is.
Only your lawyer can give you definitive legal advice about your eligibility. Some basic eligibility requirements under California law for pretrial diversion and intervention include:
- No felony convictions in the last five years
- The allegations do not include violence
- The allegations don’t indicate a more serious crime may have occurred
- No convictions for an ineligible offense in the last 5 years
In addition to these basic eligibility requirements, only specific types of charges are eligible for pretrial diversion. Pretrial diversion and intervention is most common in misdemeanor drug cases (PC 1000) if the conditions listed above are met. The misdemeanor offenses generally eligible for diversion include:
- Possession of a controlled substance (drug possession)
- Possession of drug paraphernalia
- Possession of marijuana
- Being under the influence of a controlled substance
Eligibility is determined on a case-by-case basis by the prosecutor and the court based on the unique circumstances in the case. The court will often order an investigation by a probation officer into the defendant’s background to determine whether or not it will grant a diversion program.
What Types of Diversion and Intervention Programs are There?
There are three main types of pretrial diversion and intervention programs in Los Angeles. The three types of programs are:
- Misdemeanor Drug Diversion Program
- Mental Health Diversion Program
- Military / Veteran Diversion Program
Only specific types of offenses are eligible for the different programs, so you will need to carefully examine your case with your criminal defense lawyer to evaluate whether or not you may be eligible.
If you are placed in a program, it may consist of:
- 12 – 18 months of drug or mental health treatment
- Inpatient or outpatient setting
- Random drug screens
- Completing community service
- Avoiding any new criminal conduct
- Paying restitution to any victims
- Regularly meeting with a probation officer and the court
Pretrial diversion programs are intense. Failing to comply with all the terms of the program may lead to termination of the treatment program.
What Happens if You Fail Your Diversion and Intervention Program?
In the past, if you failed your diversion program, you would have been automatically convicted of the original crime and sentenced. Now, however, you do not need to plead guilty to accept a pretrial diversion program.
This means that if you fail your diversion and intervention, you still have the right to a criminal trial to determine your guilt or innocence. The mechanics of accepting an intervention program, and preserving your rights if you fail the program, can be complicated.
It is crucial to work with experienced legal counsel to protect your rights and best interest before, during, and after a diversion program.
Now You Know What Diversion and Intervention in Lieu of Conviction is
Now you know the answer to your question: what is diversion and intervention in lieu of conviction in Los Angeles?
Pretrial diversions in criminal court are an excellent opportunity to have your criminal charges dropped and your records sealed. They also provide the opportunity for much-needed treatment for those struggling with drug addiction and mental health concerns.
If you have questions about the pretrial diversion and intervention programs in Los Angeles, contact a criminal defense lawyer for help.
Last Updated on March 17, 2022