If you have been charged with a criminal offense in San Diego you are undoubtedly concerned about the impact a conviction can have on your life. Even a conviction for a relatively minor offense may have far reaching negative consequences – both judicial and non-judicial. One way to avoid a conviction is to enter into a diversion program. There are a number of factors that go into determining if an accused is offered the option to complete a diversion program in San Diego, including the individual’s criminal history or lack thereof.
A diversion program is an option that allows the defendant to complete the terms of the program and at the end the charges will be dismissed. Whether or not a diversion program is offered to a defendant is up to the prosecuting attorney. While there are general guidelines that are used when determining eligibility for a diversion program, the ultimate decision is up to the prosecution.
Some diversion programs in San Diego require the offender to be a first-time offender. Other programs do not specifically require this to be your first offense; however, a criminal history or arrests, and specifically convictions, will certainly decrease the likelihood that a diversion program will be offered to you.
Along with your criminal history (or lack of criminal history) the crime with which you are charged is also important when deciding eligibility for a diversion program. As a general rule, felony and misdemeanor drug possession offenses and are potentially eligible for diversion, so long as the drugs possessed were for personal use. Common charges that are recommended for a diversion program include possession of small amounts of drugs, theft, and prostitution.
The terms of a diversion program will depend on the specific program. The most commonly used diversion programs in California are:
- Adult Diversion Program (ADP) – A four month long pre-filing program for first-time misdemeanor offenders. If you successfully complete the program charges will never actually be filed.
- Pretrial Diversion (PD) – This is a pre-trial program for some misdemeanors. Pre-trial means that charges have actually been filed but will be dismissed or reduced to an infraction upon successful completion.
- Deferred Entry of Judgment Program (DEJEP) – A six month long diversion program for drug offenders. Charges are dropped after successful completion.
If you have been arrested and/or charged with a criminal offense and you believe that you may qualify for a diversion program in San Diego, consult with an experienced San Diego criminal defense attorney right away.