Gov. Gavin Newsom signed AB 3234 earlier this month, creating additional statutory mechanisms for Court-initiated Misdemeanor Diversion. Now, via PC 1001.95 et seq, the courts throughout the state can grant client pre-trial diversion, even over the DA's objection, for a very wide array of offenses. (Currently excluded offenses are violations of Penal Code 290 et seq., 273.5, 243(e), and 646.9.
Previous law authorized a county to establish pretrial diversion programs for defendants who have been charged with a misdemeanor offense and authorizes other diversion programs, including for defendants with cognitive developmental disabilities, defendants in nonviolent drug cases, and traffic violations. Proactive Diversion programs have been shown to yield lower recidivism rates than seems when the judicial system used tactics more focused on prosecuting and jailing offenders.
Under the law, the defendant can be given up to 24 months to complete whatever conditions are imposed as a part of the diversion offer, and the terms of that diversion plan can be narrowly tailored to the specific facts and circumstances of the defendant's alleged crime.
Should a candidate not successfully complete the diversion program, the criminal proceedings will be reinstated. Should a candidate successfully complete the diversion program, the net result will be that the criminal case against them is officially dismissed, and the record of arrest will be sealed, allowing a person to avoid potentially lifelong collateral con sequences of a conviction generally associated with having a criminal record.
Because a candidate is not required to enter a plea to participate in diversion under this section, it will not count as a "conviction" for immigration purposes.
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