Proposition 36 in Orange County
In the November, 2000, General Election California voters passed Proposition 36, which allows non-violent drug offenders to enter a drug treatment program rather than serve any jail time. Proposition 36 is defined by Penal Code 1210 as "drug diversion that allows a nonviolent defendant to have their charge(s) dismissed if they successfully complete a court-approved drug treatment program." Under Proposition 36, first and second-time defendants who have been convicted of nonviolent drug possession offenses can receive up to twelve months of substance abuse treatment rather than incarceration.
- Drug education
- Outpatient services
- Extended residential treatment
- Detoxification services
- Narcotic replacement therapy
- Aftercare services
Nonviolent drug possession offenses include unlawfully using and/or being under the influence of any of the drugs listed in the United States' Controlled Substances Act, and/or possessing or transporting any of said narcotics for personal use. If your nonviolent drug offense involved any sales of drugs, you will not likely qualify for Proposition 36 treatment.
If you have been convicted of one or more felonies that qualified for a strike against your record per California's Three Strike Laws, you cannot qualify for Proposition 36 unless special circumstances apply. Said special circumstances can include that the qualifying nonviolent drug possession offense occurred at least five years after you were last released from prison, or you were convicted of a felony other than a nonviolent drug possession offense or a misdemeanor that involved physical injury or the threat of physical injury to another person. If you were convicted in the same court proceeding of either a misdemeanor not related to the use of drugs or a felony, you're also ineligible for Proposition 36.
If you have two separate convictions for nonviolent drug possession offenses, were sentenced under Proposition 36 for both offenses, and the judge believes you are unable to benefit from Proposition 36, you are not only ineligible to participate in Proposition 36 again, but will also be required to serve a minimum of 30 days in jail. For those who lose their cases at trial and they meet the above requirements, they are allowed to ask the judge for Proposition 36 drug treatment rather than face their sentences.
Under PC 1210.1, successful completion of the program means you successfully completed the drug treatment program that was recommended by the drug counselor and ordered by the court. You must also be able to prove you will no longer use drugs. Once you've successfully completed your drug treatment, you can have the arrest and offense dismissed, as well as have the legal right to say you were never arrested or tried for this drug crime.
For most employers and housing and rental agencies, you can legally state you've never been arrested or convicted for this drug charge; however, there are some exceptions. You will have to state your arrest and conviction if you apply to become a peace officer, apply for public office, apply to a state or local license agency that contracts with the California State Lottery, or wish to be a part of a jury selection.
If you find the guidelines for Proposition 36 are not for you, or you don't meet the requirements, you have two other alternatives to avoid any possible jail time.
Said alternatives include:
- PC 1000
- California Drug Court
Under PC 1000, a judge offers nonviolent drug possession offenders the opportunity to have charges dismissed upon the successful completion of a drug treatment program. Unlike Proposition 36, you're not sentenced to formal probation, such as when you are undergoing a PC 1000 drug treatment program. Also unlike Proposition 36, if the judge believes you're not making any progress in the drug treatment program, he/she can pull you out of the program and order you to stand trial, which, depending on the circumstances of your case, you could enter a Proposition 36 program. The biggest advantage to PC 1000 is marijuana or other drugs that disqualify you for treatment under Proposition 36 qualify under PC 1000.
Another alternative is the California Drug Court, which also allows you to have your charges dismissed upon completing a drug treatment program. Unlike Proposition 36 and PC 1000, doing treatment through California Drug Court may require regular drug testing and close monitoring by the courts.
What is done is done, but now you not only have the opportunity to potentially eliminate your drug charges from your record, but most importantly, get into a much-needed drug treatment. If you've been charge with a drug offense that may not qualify for a drug treatment program, we at Law Office of Michael L. Guisti can work with the Orange County District Attorney's office to establish a plea deal that could allow entry into a drug treatment program.
Please call an Orange County drug crime lawyer today at (714) 530-9690 to learn how our highly skilled law firm can help you!
Whether you're facing a felony or a misdemeanor, don't risk a conviction. Act quickly to redeem your reputation and protect your record by consulting with our Orange County criminal defense lawyer. Call today to schedule your free consultation.