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Diversion in California Criminal Cases

Diversion in California Criminal Cases

Diversion a word that we have been hearing in California criminal cases for decades.  Before 1997 we had informal diversion in low level drug cases.  The benefit was that clients would not have to plead guilty to a felony in order to take advantage of the program.  If they finished the program successfully, the case got dismissed without any conviction or sentence.  After 1997, the law changed.  Diversion became “deferred entry of judgment”.  This meant that you would have to plead guilty and get “convicted” of the charge.  The conviction would not become permanent if you were successful in the program and the case would still get dismissed in the end.  The problem was that the conviction would often show up in background checks and always was viewable and still considered a conviction by the federal government.

Fortunately, the rules have again changed.  Informal diversionJudicial Diversion for Criminal Cases in California: When, Where and How can you get it? is back and we are again able to resolve a lot of cases, both drug and none drug related cased informally.  If the prosecution or the judge agrees, the charges can be “diverted”.  This means that without entering a guilty plea and without sustaining even a temporary conviction, you may be able to earn a complete dismissal of your case in a quick as 6 months or as long as two years.

Avoiding a conviction in a criminal case can be invaluable in many circumstances.  In the case of immigration, avoiding a conviction can be the difference between getting deported or not getting deported.  In the workplace, it can be the difference between getting a job or not getting a job.  These days, every employer seems to be doing some kind of a background check before hiring.  Avoiding a conviction that would otherwise show up on a background check is amazing.  What about in the case of a divorce and child custody battle.  Avoiding a conviction can be the difference between reaching an agreement over child custody and a years long battle in court just to see your own children.

Next we will talk about Veteran’s Court and Military Diversion.  Then I will do a blog about Mental Health Diversion.  So many great options for resolving criminal cases in California!

If you or someone close to you has been charged with a crime, call an experienced criminal defense lawyer before you go to court.  Talk to your lawyer before you make any critical decisions about your case.  Talk you your lawyer about options that may be available to you.  Are you or were you in the military? That could help resolve your criminal charges.  Do you have any diagnosed medical or mental health conditions?  This could help resolve your criminal charges.  Did you know the law REQUIRES the prosecution to consider significant immigration consequences when negotiating settlements in criminal cases.  Make sure your lawyer knows all the rules and uses them to leverage a settlement that is right for you.

Attorney Jeffrey Vallens (818) 783-5700 or (888) 764-4340 or email me at:

I look forward to speaking with you and doing my best work on you case too!

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