Being arrested in California for an alleged crime is never a good thing. An arrest can mean serious legal repercussions including jail time and expensive fines. The implications of a criminal record can follow a person around for a very long time, impairing their ability to succeed in life and society.
Depending on the crime that is committed, it can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. Misdemeanor crimes tend to be less grievous than felonies and because of this, the penalties that come with them are not as harsh as felonies. Also with misdemeanor crimes, there is often more flexibility with regard to sentencing after a conviction. On January 1, 2021, updated California law gives judges expanded discretion to grant diversion for more individuals convicted of misdemeanor crimes.
How Do New California Sentencing Laws Affect People Convicted of Misdemeanor Crimes?
Before California Assembly bill 3234 was enacted, there were many misdemeanor crimes that did not qualify for diversion programs. Individuals who struggle with drug addiction and mental health issues were typically the only individuals who could be considered for diversion. Now almost all of the misdemeanor crimes with the exception of just a few for stalking, domestic violence, and sex crimes can be considered for diversion by a judge.
This means that if you are charged with any of the following misdemeanors you could be given a diversion by the judge in your case:
- Drug crimes
- Criminal threats
- Elder abuse
- Child abuse
- Vehicular manslaughter
- Carrying a concealed gun
If you are lucky enough to be given a diversion, under AB 3234, it is possible to have your case dismissed. If you complete all requirements of your diversion as set forth by the judge, then you could even have your criminal case erased from your record. Avoiding a criminal record will be critical to the outcome of the rest of your life and your potential success.
Even in situations in which the prosecutor objects to a diversion, the judge still has the final say and can grant it regardless of the position of the prosecution. A judge will set the conditions of the diversion program. Depending on the defendant’s circumstances, this could mean:
- Attending a substance abuse program.
- Engaging in some type of community service.
- Taking anger management courses.
- A combination of beneficial and rehabilitative programs.
While the enlargement of the diversion program in California is a valuable opportunity for people convicted of certain misdemeanors to overcome their charges and start anew, there are still repercussions that will not change. Restitution to victims must still be paid. If protective orders were issued, they must continue to be followed.
Speak to a San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney Today
While AB 3234 provides more opportunities for individuals arrested for misdemeanors, it does not mean that all cases will be afforded the diversion. If you have been charged with a misdemeanor crime in California, you need the most experienced San Diego criminal defense attorney representing you to get the best outcome possible. This includes presenting all the facts in your case in a persuasive and compelling way to increase your chances of being given diversion. To learn more, call the Law Offices of David M. Boertje today at (619) 229-1870 for the San Diego office or (760) 476-0901 for the Carlsbad location.