Los Angeles Diversion of Criminal Cases
In Los Angeles County, the court’s may offer a diversionary program as an alternative to sentencing in a criminal case. If the defendant qualifies, the diversionary program allows the defendant to successfully complete the court’s requirements while sentencing is continued to a later date. If the defendant successfully completes the court’s requirements, the defendant will be able to withdraw his guilty plea or no contest plea and the court will dismiss the case; the defendant will not be sentenced. However, if the defendant fails to comply with the court’s requirements or picks up a new case, then the defendant will not be allowed to withdraw his or her plea and the defendant will be sentenced. Referenced below are some diversionary programs offered throughout the various courts in Los Angeles County:
Informal Diversion – Los Angeles City Attorney or District Attorney
Informal diversion is probably one of the best alternatives to a plea negotiation. Here, the defendant does not have to plea guilty or no contest and the case will trail to allow the defendant time to comply. It is informal diversion and the court will not require the defendant to plea. For example, if the defendant is charged in Metro Courthouse for driving on a suspend license pursuant to Vehicle Code 14601.1a, the city attorney may agree to continue the case without a guilty plea until the defendant obtains his license and provides the City Attorney proof. Another example is if the Defendant converted his garage into a living quarter in the City of Glendale without permits, the Glendale City Attorney may allow enough time for the defendant to reconvert it back to a garage. In doing so, the City Attorney will dismiss the case without allowing the defendant to plea.
Drug Diversion – PC1000
Drug diversion cases are an alternative to Proposition 36. Generally it is 18 month program for drug offenses for personal use arising out of drug charges for Section 11350, 11357, 11364, or11365, paragraph (2) of subdivision (b) of Section 11375, Section 11377, or Section 11550 of the Health and Safety Code, or subdivision (b) of Section 23222 of the Vehicle Code, or Section 11358 of the Health and Safety Code if the marijuana planted, cultivated, harvested, dried, or processed is for personal use, or Section 11368 of the Health and Safety Code if the narcotic drug was secured by a fictitious prescription and is for the personal use of the defendant and was not sold or furnished to another, or subdivision (d) of Section 653f if the solicitation was for acts directed to personal use only, or Section 381 or subdivision (f) of Section 647 of the Penal Code, if for being under the influence of a controlled substance, or Section 4060 of the Business and Professions Code.
Prostitution Diversion Program (PDP) – Penal Code 1001.10
If the defendant is a first-time offender for solicitation for prostitution or engaging in the act of prostitution in violation of Penal Code 647(b), the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office will offer the defendant the first-time prostitution diversion program. The prostitution diversion program (aka “John’s Class”) generally requires the defendant to take an HIV Test, AIDS education class and community service or pay a fine. Prostitution diversion is also offered to defendants with no prior record who are arrested for loitering with the intent to commit prostitution pursuant to California Penal Code 653.22 and escorting without a license in violation of LAMC 103.107.1. Prostitution Diversion Program (PDP) is not ideal for non-US citizens because it is still considered a crime of moral turpitude for INS purposes. Moreover, a plea to Penal Code 647(b), 653.22, or LAMC 103.107.1, still may have collateral effects for employment, licensing, and the community stigma during background searched.
Court Diversion – Los Angeles Pilot Program – Penal Code 1001.94
There is a more recent pilot program in Los Angeles County where a superior court judge or commissioner may at his discretion and over the objection of the prosecutor defer sentencing a defendant who has submitted a plea of guilty or nolo contendere to a misdemeanor for a period not to exceed 12 months, and the judge may order the defendant to comply with terms, conditions, or programs that the judge deems appropriate based on the defendant’s specific situation. “Upon successful completion of the terms, conditions, or programs ordered by the court, the arrest upon which sentencing was deferred shall be deemed to have never occurred. The defendant may indicate in response to any question concerning his or her prior criminal record that he or she was not arrested or granted deferred entry of judgment for the offense” except to be a peace officer. “A record pertaining to an arrest resulting in successful completion of the terms, conditions, or programs ordered by the court shall not, without the defendant’s consent, be used in any way that could result in the denial of any employment, benefit, license, or certificate.” See Penal Code 1001.96.
Bad Check Diversion – Penal Code 1001.60
The Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office has its own bad checks unit that prosecutes individuals who write bad checks. Pursuant to Penal Code 1001.64, the Los Angeles District Attorney may forego prosecution on the bad check for up to six months by entering into a written agreement with the defendant to agree to the following terms: (1) Completion of a class (b) Full restitution being made to the victim of the bad check and (c) Full payment of the diversion fees
Parental Diversion – Penal Code 1001.70
Parental Diversion is offered to parents in violation of Penal Code 272 for contributing to delinquency of a person under the age of 18. Parenting classes are offered as part of the parental diversionary disposition.
There are many other alternatives to sentencing. If you have a pending criminal case in Los Angeles Superior Court, call attorney Arthur Khachatourians for a defense consultation.