Deferred Entry of Judgment for Drug Offenses
Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorneys Assisting Drug Crime Defendants Avoid Jail Through a Drug Diversion Program
It may be possible to avoid a jail or prison sentence for certain types of drug crime cases. At Eisner Gorin LLP, a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer at our law firm can help you determine how to best address your drug charges. We can provide information about the drug diversion programs available under California state law.
A drug crime conviction frequently has life-changing consequences. This type of conviction in California can be seen by potential employers, landlords, and can even lead to deportation. Therefore, it’s critical to do everything possible to prevent a criminal conviction for a drug offense or to reduce the charge to minimize the impact on your life. An experienced Los Angeles drug crime lawyer at our office is skilled at negotiating alternative sentences, such as California PC 1000 Drug Diversion, rather than jail. If you have been accused of a drug crime, contact our criminal defense attorneys to review the details and your case and let us explain your legal options.
California Penal Code 1000 Drug Diversion
Deferred Entry of Judgment, commonly referred to as “DEJ,” pursuant to Penal Code 1000 is a program under which certain first-time drug offenders can earn the opportunity to have their case dismissed entirely. It allows most nonviolent first-time drug offenders to obtain treatment and education instead of jail time. The great benefit of DEJ is that, if the defendant successfully completes certain obligations, they can end up with no criminal record.
If you or a family member has been arrested for or charged with a drug-related offense, you should call a Los Angeles drug crime lawyer at Eisner Gorin LLP. Based on the particular circumstances of your case, and your prior history, we can advise you on your eligibility for DEJ, as well as any other legal defenses you may have.
Deferred Entry of Judgment Process
If a defendant meets the eligibility requirements for DEJ, as discussed below, and the court approves DEJ, the defendant will enter a plea of guilty to the charged drug offense. Some Los Angeles County courts allow the defendant to enter a no contest plea, but the significant majority of courts require a guilty plea. Then, unlike the more common situation where the sentence is imposed immediately following the plea, the sentencing hearing will be postponed. The period of postponement is 3 years. However, if the defendant has been successfully complying for 18 months, many judges will be inclined to grant an early dismissal of the charges.
In that time, the defendant will be ordered to complete affirmative obligations, including a drug treatment program. If the defendant returns to court on the sentencing date with all their obligations completed successfully, the court will allow them to withdraw their guilty plea, and the drug crime case will be dismissed. This results in no record of conviction, which allows the defendant to truthfully answer “no” to a question on an employment or similar application which asks about past convictions. Contact a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer at our office for more detailed information.
Deferred Entry of Judgment Eligibility
Only certain criminal defendants are eligible for DEJ. Eligibility depends on both the offense charged and the defendant’s prior criminal history. The charged drug offense must involve possession of an illegal drug for personal use. This means that an allegation of drug possession for sale, for instance, is not DEJ eligible, regardless of the defendant’s history.
Additionally, the crime must not involve any allegation of violence or threatened violence. The most common DEJ eligible crimes include Health and Safety Code 11350 (possession of a controlled substance), Health and Safety Code 11358 (cultivation of marijuana for personal use), and Health and Safety Code 11550 (under the influence of controlled substance). In addition to marijuana, offenses related to personal possession of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, ketamine, ecstasy, and other substances may qualify for DEJ.
When determining eligibility for DEJ, the defendant’s prior criminal history is also relevant. DEJ will not be granted if the defendant has any prior drug-related convictions, any prior probation or parole revocations, participated in a separate DEJ program within the last 5 years, or had any prior felony convictions within the last 5 years. If any of these criteria applies, the judge does not have authority to grant DEJ even if the charged offense would otherwise be eligible for DEJ. Call a Los Angeles drug crime lawyer at our office for more information.
Deferred Entry of Judgment Benefits
The major benefit of DEJ is the opportunity to earn a complete dismissal of the drug charges. This allows the defendant to truthfully answer “no” to an employment or other similar application which asks whether the applicant has been convicted of a crime. Under California law, judgment is only entered against a criminal defendant at the time of sentencing, not when a guilty plea is entered. Therefore, upon successful completion of DEJ, the case is dismissed without judgment ever having been entered.
Additionally, the original arrest will be deemed merely a detention for all purposes. It should be noted, however, that the Department of Justice still retains a record of the arrest and the charge, and will disclose this information if the successful DEJ participant ever applies to become a peace officer. The information may also adversely affect applications to federal law enforcement positions or national security related positions.
In addition to California's Penal Code 1000 deferred entry of judgment program, there are two other drug diversion programs, Proposition 36 and drug court. In order to determine which diversion program is best suited to your case, consult with a Los Angeles drug crimes defense attorney at out law firm immediately.
Unsuccessful Termination of DEJ
In the end, getting drug charges dismissed depends on the actions of the defendant. The court or attorney will not hold a defendant's hand and guide them in making daily responsible decisions. There are many situations that will typically result in the court terminating deferred entry of judgment and sentencing the defendant to county jail or state prison. These situations include the defendant not appearing on scheduled court date, failing a drug test, not attending counseling, conviction of a violence related misdemeanor crime, conviction of a felony offense, or engaging in criminal conduct making them unsuitable for DEJ.
Call a Los Angeles Drug Crime Attorney
If you have been accused of a drug offense, call a qualified Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer at attorney Eisner Gorin LLP for a free case review. You have much at stake as a drug charge conviction is a serious matter. You need a skilled criminal defense law firm on your side.
We have a history of success defending out clients against drug crime charges. In one case in Van Nuys Superior Court, our attorneys were able to get our client released on his own recognizance after drug arrest and convinced the judge and Los Angeles County prosecutor to dismiss the prior strike convictions. He was allowed to complete a Deferred Entry of Judgment program. After successful completion, his case was dismissed.
We offer a confidential free case evaluation to discuss the specific details of your drug crime case as well as legal options. Contact our criminal law firm at 877-781-1570.
Related Pages: Drug Possession | Marijuana Cultivation | Proposition 36