Drug Diversion And Prop. 36
Many people can, without an attorney, avoid criminal convictions for drug offenses because of “drug diversion” or because of the passage of Proposition 36: The Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act of 2000. Remember though — it is always best to confer with an attorney before deciding what to do. It may be advisable to fight your case. It may be very important to choose the right option between drug diversion and Prop. 36 treatment — so confer with a knowledgeable attorney and learn about your options.
Drug Diversion: For a number of years, many first time California drug offenders, have been able to avoid criminal convictions by taking advantage of the state’s drug diversion laws (“Deferred Entry of Judgment”).
If successfully completed, diversion leads to a dismissal of the charges. There are limitations, including: the charges cannot be for sales, possession for sale or transportation. There must be no prior drug diversion or drug offense within five years. No prior probation can have been terminated for non-compliance.
Drug diversion in Santa Cruz County costs $705.00 and consists of intake and exit interviews plus 10 two hour group classes spread over three months. The focus is “drug abuse education and self awareness.” After completing the counseling and remaining free of criminal problems for 18 months — the charges are dismissed.
Proposition 36: Drug laws were radically changed in California in November 2000 with the passage of The Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act of 2000.
The good news is that Prop. 36 requires drug treatment rather than punishment for the vast majority of people arrested for drug offenses. Obviously treatment makes sense where there is any viability and that’s why 61% of the voters in the state and 70+% in Santa Cruz County voted for this revolutionary law.
What the Act Does: Certain non-violent adult offenders who use or possess illegal drugs receive drug treatment in the community rather than incarceration. It was designed to:
- Preserve jail and prison cells for serious and violent offenders.
- Enhance public safety by reducing drug-related crime.
- Improve public health by reducing drug abuse through proven and effective treatment strategies.
Eligible offenders receive up to one year of drug treatment and six months of after-care. While drug use relapses are expected and lead to more treatment intervention the courts may sanction offenders who are “not amenable” to treatment. Vocational training, family counseling, literacy training, and other services are supposed to be provided but, with our local and state budget in shambles virtually nothing is offered to people.
If you are suffering with drug problems — get some help. Whether your issue is with cannabis, alcohol, tobacco, meth, heroin or prescription drugs…….You can do it! I’ve seen dozens of seriously ill people get healthy. These are health issues and never should have been treated within the criminal justice system.
THE DRUG WAR SHOULD END NOW!