In 2000, the state of California enacted Proposition 36 which officially
established a drug diversion program for eligible defendants. Defined
in Penal Code sections 1210-1210.1 PC and 3063.1, the proposition systematically
established an alternative form of sentencing for persons who are found
guilty of a
drug crime offense in California. Specifically, the proposition calls for qualifying
drug defendants to have their criminal charges dismissed, or even have
their convictions dismissed, given their ability to successfully complete
the court-approved drug treatment program assigned to them.
As defined in the proposition's language, drug treatment programs encompass
those programs in which a very specific set of criteria is offered to
the defendants who attend. In order to meet the approval of the courts,
a drug treatment program must offer at least one variation of the following:
drug education, residential treatment, outpatient services, detoxification
services, narcotic replacement therapy, and / or aftercare services. If
at least one of the above components is not included in the drug program
under consideration, it will not meet the court's approval. Accordingly,
the drug rehabilitation programs that are also offered in jails and prison
systems do not meet the requirements expected by the court system.
The rehabilitation treatment program required by Prop 36 applies to both
first- and second-time defendants whose convictions are related only to
drug possession offenses. For these individuals, up to 12 months of a substance abuse
treatment program can be required in lieu of serving time in jail or prison.
If necessary, based upon the needs of the defendant seeking treatment,
an additional 2 periods of 6 months each can be applied to an individual's
treatment as well. Similar forms of punishment can be applied to parolees
who are found in violation of the terms of their parole for a nonviolent
drug possession offense.
Given the fact that California's Proposition 36 can only be applied
to cases of nonviolent drug offenses, it is vitally important that defendant's
understand which types of drug activity are considered to be nonviolent
in nature, and which are classified as violent. Nonviolent drug offenses
include being under the influence of any type of drug listed in the United
States Controlled Substances Act. These types of offenses are also categorized
by the possession or transportation for personal use of any of these same
narcotics. Some of the most common drugs that are affiliated with nonviolent
- Ketamine, i.e. "Special K"
- Gamma-Hydroxybutyric Acid, i.e. "GHB"
Defendants who wish to take advantage of California Prop 36 must first
plead guilty or plead no contest to the nonviolent drug possession charge
that was made in their name. Following this plea, the defendant must then
be officially convicted for their drug offense after bench or jury trial.
Only parolees (individuals who have been legally released from state prison
on parole) are permitted to submit themselves to a drug rehabilitation
treatment program. At this time, the judge working on your case will either
modify the terms of your parole or instead place you on probation.
Once the full term of a drug rehabilitation program has been successfully
completed, the defendant can petition the court to have his or her conviction
officially dismissed. Successful completion of drug treatment entails
a defendant's ability to finish the course of the drug treatment program
recommended to him or her, and be able to show that there is no viable
reason to believe that they will continue to struggle with drug use /
abuse. Assuming these conditions are met, the drug charges made against
a defendant will be expunged and the defendant will be released from the
penalties that would have gone along with the consequence of a conviction.
As the details of this blog describe, the drug rehabilitation programs
touted by California Prop 36 are not easy; however, they can be effective
in eliminating a defendant's ultimate conviction. As such, the rehabilitation
program is one that should not be overlooked by the
criminal defense attorney who is selected to represent you in court. When you work with an
Orange County drug crime lawyer from The Law Offices of Jacqueline Goodman, you can rest assured that
the prospect of a drug rehabilitation treatment program will not be overlooked,
nor will it be prematurely dismissed. Rather, we will do everything possible
to help you escape conviction and penalties at all costs, and this includes
utilizing the drug diversion programs offered to nonviolent offenders.