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DEJ is Better than Prop 36

No I don’t Want Prop 36 When I can get Diversion

Drug cases these days are interesting. If the case does not involve sales or possession for sale, it will normally be a misdemeanor. When I speak to a prosecutor about settling the case, prosecutors often suggest “Prop 36” as a settlement. I bite my tongue and suggest that my client appears to be “DEJ” eligible. This week I actually had a prosecutor look at me and say, “Do you think that’s enough for your client” suggesting the client should have more intensive therapy instead of the 20 week outpatient program that makes up deferred entry of judgment. I simply responded that I believed my client was DEJ eligible and had the family resources to do additional drug treatment if he felt it was necessary.

The difference between deferred entry of judgment and a Proposition 36 result means that my client will not be sentenced on the case and upon completion of the DEJ program he will have all charges dismissed within 18 months. By contrast, Prop 36 requires sentencing, imposing probation for 3 years and then drug treatment based on an individual assessment by a community assessment program. Prop 36 could even involve residential treatment. Deferred entry of judgment does not. After successful completion of the Prop 36 program the defendant’s plea is then withdrawn and the case dismissed pursuant to Penal Code Section 1203.4. But this is after a conviction and sentencing, clearly not as beneficial to the client.

Please do take caution in the fact that DEJ does involve a guilty plea and a “conviction” in court as well. The difference is that the conviction never becomes final because the defendant is not sentenced. Sentencing is “deferred” for 18 months and ultimately never occurs as the defendant gets the plea withdrawn and the cased dismissed. The cautionary note is that this is still a conviction in technical terms. For immigration purposes or other licensing, governmental issues or even background checks, the client in a DEJ case does get convicted of the charged crime based upon the plea.

If you or someone close to you has been charged with crime, including possession of narcotics, possession for sale, sales, cultivation or manufacturing, any other criminal charges from driving on a suspended license to homicide, call a veteran lawyer who can help.

Call me, attorney Jeffrey Vallens (818) 783-5700 or (888) 764-4340 or

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