Diversion offers a way for a person charged with a crime to avoid a conviction by engaging in treatment and making agreements designed to tackle the root cause of the system involvement. We support diversion by staying current on the types of diversion available, advocating for diversion for our clients when appropriate, assisting clients with diversion applications, and helping clients successfully complete diversion by linking them to supportive services.
Deferred Judgment Drug Program (DJP)
Clients arrested for lower-level drug offenses may be eligible for the Deferred Judgment Program (DJP). The District Attorney’s Office determines whether a person is eligible for the program. To get DJP, a participant must plead guilty to the charge and agree to engage in an assessment of the client’s alcohol and drug use and 22 hours of group education and group counseling over a minimum of 10 weeks.
If a client successfully completes DJP, the charges are dismissed.
A judge can grant diversion to a client charged with a misdemeanor that does not involve domestic violence or stalking. (Pen. Code, § 1001.95.) If a judge grants diversion, the client must then comply with certain terms, conditions, and programs for up to 24 months. If diversion is successful, the case is dismissed. If diversion is unsuccessful, the criminal case picks up where it left off.
Mental Health Diversion
A judge can grant diversion to people who have committed a crime because of a mental disorder. (Pen. Code, §§ 1001.35, 1001.36.) Different people qualify for different types of mental health diversion, so it’s important to discuss eligibility with an attorney. Generally, to be eligible for diversion, a participant must have a recent mental health diagnosis from a qualified mental health provider, not pose an unreasonable risk of danger to public safety if treated in the community, be able to respond to treatment that is in their treatment plan, agree to comply with treatment, and waive their right to a speedy trial. Certain offenses are excluded from diversion, such as murder, voluntary manslaughter, all offenses requiring sexual offender registration except for a violation of Penal Code section 314, and an offense involving a weapon of mass destruction under Penal Code section 11418. Certain diagnoses are excluded from mental health diversion, such as antisocial personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, and pedophilia.