California Penal Code 1000 permits for deferred entry of judgement for certain drug offenses. This provides drug offenders the opportunity to defer court proceedings for treatment and education about their addiction. Upon successful completion of a drug treatment program, the defendant may have the charges dropped from their record.

Typically, the defendant enters a guilty plea to the charge(s). If the judge determines that the defendant is a qualified candidate for drug diversion, he/she will postpone the criminal proceedings typically for a period of time ranging between 18 months and three years while the defendant participates in a drug rehabilitation program.

A drug rehabilitation program is one which has been deemed credible and effective by the applicable county drug program administrator. The defendant can request to be referred to a facility in any county so long as the program meets the criteria.

  • a preliminary assessment of the defendant
  • minimum of 20 hours of counseling and/or education
  • an exit meeting showing the progress of the defendant

If the defendant successfully completes the program, the judge dismisses the charges and the defendant may  state that he/she has never been arrested for the charged offense.

However, if the judge doesn’t think that the defendant would benefit from treatment or the defendant does not successfully complete his/her course of treatment, the judge will enforce any sentences on the charge(s).

Who is Eligible?

Before a defendant can take part in California’s deferred entry of judgment program, he/she must be eligible. Eligibility is principally based on:

  • No prior convictions for any drug-related offenses
  • The current charge is for a non-violent offense
  • The defendant has a no history of parole or probation violations
  • No prior felony convictions within 5 years
  • Has not participated in the deferred entry program in the last 5 years

What drugs are commonly eligible for a drug diversion program?

  • Marijuana
  • Methamphetamines
  • Cocaine
  • Heroin
  • Ecstasy
  • Codeine
  • Vicodin
  • Other prescription drugs