2021 has brought some slow—albeit steady—progress toward true criminal justice reform. Among the new laws that took effect in January were California’s Assembly Bill 3234, which offers good news for some individuals facing misdemeanor cases: it gives courts the option to give misdemeanor defendants diversion for a period of up to two years.
Diversion is an agreement where you do not have to plead guilty to anything right away, and instead agree to complete certain conditions—like drug or alcohol classes, individual counseling, community service, etc.—for a set amount of time. Under AB 3234 you will also have to pay full restitution and abide by any protective or stay-away orders throughout the case. Then, after you have completed those conditions, the case will be dismissed at the end of the agreed-upon period.
Of course, there are always exceptions. Some categories of misdemeanors like sex offenses, domestic violence cases, and stalking charges do not qualify for this type of court diversion. Most other misdemeanor charges do qualify, though, even potentially including DUIs, child or elder abuse, and low-level drug or firearm offenses.
One particular benefit of AB 3234 is that a judge can grant the misdemeanor diversion even over the prosecution’s objection. This means that a qualified, locally experienced defense attorney can (and will) consider making a request for this type of relief whether the prosecutor agrees with them or not. The biggest perk of this diversion, however, is that once successfully completed, your arrest is deemed to have never occurred. Click on this video by our Managing Partner, David P. Shapiro, to learn more about Penal Code section 1001.
If you are currently facing criminal charges in San Diego and would like to learn more about your eligibility under AB 3234 and your options moving forward, give us a call at (619) 295-3555 to set up a consultation today.
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