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Diversion: A Better Option For Resolving Misdemeanors

A change in California law means that you may have the opportunity to achieve the dismissal of misdemeanor charges without going to trial. This can provide the best of both worlds: an opportunity to make things right and better yourself while avoiding the harsh consequences of a criminal conviction such as fines, jail time and professional license suspensions.

At The Law Offices of Mark Deniz APLC, we offer criminal defense representation from a former senior prosecutor who employs a proven approach to protecting the rights of the accused in San Diego County. Get the right attorney on your side today by calling 858-429-9982 for a free consultation.

Why Diversion?

The intent of California’s diversion program is twofold:

  1. Provide defendants with a second chance
  2. Provide a practical solution to logistical concerns

Resolving misdemeanor offenses through diversion is expected to ease overcrowding in jails and provide a second chance to good people who find themselves on the wrong side of misdemeanor charges. The program has been designed to build off a successful pilot program that took place in Los Angeles County. The LA program decreased the number of jury trials by more than 2,000 over two years, saving the court system $12,000 per day, per trial. More importantly, recidivism rates were lower for diversion graduates than their counterparts who were prosecuted in the traditional criminal justice system.

What Does Diversion Mean For You?

The collateral consequences of a misdemeanor conviction can haunt people for the rest of their lives, with a criminal record making it difficult to find employment, secure housing and be a functioning member of society. Diversion is an opportunity to resolve the issues you face and emerge without a criminal record or arrest record. Your background checks will be clean as you pursue future opportunities, whether you are pursuing a new job or coaching your child’s youth sports team. Another crucial benefit of diversion is that you will not be required to plead guilty in advance of the diversion.

What Is The Diversion Process?

A superior court judge can offer diversion for eligible misdemeanors over the objection of a prosecuting attorney (with some exceptions). The diversion process must be completed within 24 months, with completion coming once the defendant has successfully complied with the terms, conditions and programs the judge has required. Conditions of diversion include:

  • Completing all court-ordered conditions such as community service, drug treatment and/or anger management
  • Complying with court-ordered protective order, stay-away order or prohibition on firearm possession
  • Making full restitution (with some exceptions granted for indigence)

Once diversion has been successfully completed, the judge will dismiss the misdemeanor case against the defendant and the arrest will be deemed to have never occurred.

What Misdemeanors Are Eligible For Diversion?

Diversion is the best possible outcome for people facing misdemeanor charges. Unfortunately, not all misdemeanors are eligible for diversion. Ineligible misdemeanors include any offense where a conviction would require registration pursuant to Section 290, violations of Section 273.5, violations of subdivision (e) of Section 243, violations of Section 646.9. While DUI is not technically excluded from eligibility, judges are under immense pressure not to grant diversion in drunk driving cases.

Some of the most common misdemeanors that can be resolved through diversion are:

  • Disorderly conduct or resisting arrest, PC 148(a)(1)
  • Hit-and-run, VC 20002(a)
  • Weapons charges, such as PC 25850
  • Driving on a suspended license, VC14601
  • Petty theft, PC 484
  • Public intoxication, PC 647(f)
  • Solicitation and prostitution, PC 647(b)
  • Vandalism, PC 594

Not sure if your diversion is an option for you? The best thing you can do is speak to an experienced attorney from our firm about your defense options. We will make sure you understand all your options and are comfortable with the path forward.

We Will Pursue The Best Possible Outcome For You

At The Law Offices of Mark Deniz APLC, our focus always has been and always will be on achieving the best possible outcome for our clients. We employ a dual-track approach to misdemeanor cases – consisting of a diversion and proactive route – in order to ensure our client has every opportunity to emerge in the best possible position to have a bright future. You can get the ball rolling on your dual-track defense today by calling 858-429-9982 for a free initial consultation or by contacting the firm online.