As of January 1, 2018, California courts are offering pre-plea diversion in certain drug cases.  The benefit to this pre-plea diversion, over the more traditional “formal” diversion, is that the defendant never enters a plea and, thus, is never actually convicted of anything.  They can earn a complete dismissal of the charges without suffering a conviction on their record.

Prior to this change, and for about the last 10 years, California offered a diversion called deferred entry of judgement or “DEJ.”  In the older DEJ diversions, the defendant had to plead guilty, sentencing was continued for 18 months, and the defendant would complete a drug-treatment program.  If the defendant successfully completed a drug-treatment program and had no other arrests for the diversion period, the defendant could withdraw his plea of guilt, enter a not-guilty plea and the court would dismiss the case.

There was, and still is in cases not eligible for pre-plea diversion, devastating consequences for some defendants.  First off, the federal government does not recognize diversions as a dismissal.  Thus, for purposes of your FBI criminal background, even if your case was ultimately dismissed after successful completion of DEJ, the federal government still views that as a conviction.  If you are an immigrant who is here illegally, or have limited status in the country, the conviction under federal law means that you are subject to deportation, denial of naturalization or exclusion from re-entry into the country.  Additionally, people who hold certain licenses or security clearances could lose their jobs and/or licenses as a result of this conviction.

All for a minor possession charge.

With the availability of a pre-plea diversion, there is no longer any conviction on your record.  The defendant simply waives his right to a speedy trial for up to two (2) years and the case remains “pending” while the defendant completes a drug-treatment program.  After completing the program, paying court fees and avoiding any new arrests, the case is dismissed and the defendant walks away without any conviction, ever, on his or her record.

If you have been charged with a drug crime, contact attorney Ross Erlich to talk about your rights and options with the court.  You might be eligible for pre-plea diversion, veteran’s court or a mental health diversion.

Ross Erlich handles drug charges in all courts throughout southern California, including the Airport Court, CCB Courthouse, Pasadena Court, Burbank Court, Van Nuys Court and the San Fernando Court.

A Santa Clarita man was caught with 88 pounds of meth, kicked his way out of a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s patrol car, ran across a freeway and evaded arrest for more than a day before being arrested on Thursday.

The suspect’s car was stopped on Interstate 5 in Santa Clarita Valley when Sheriff’s Deputies discovered the large quantity of meth.  After being arrested and placed in the back of the patrol car, the suspect kicked out the rear window and ran across the freeway.  He was eventually spotted walking in the area and found hiding in an empty water tank.

If you have been arrested for a drug-related crime, it is important to hire a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.  Having representation at the earliest stage in the case can help prevent damaging statements from being made to law enforcement and, in certain situations, lead to the reduction in charges actually filed or even a dismissal.

If you have been arrested in Los Angeles or the San Fernando Valley for possession for sale of a controlled substance, sale or transportation of a controlled substance or manufacturing drugs and narcotics, contact attorney Ross Erlich today for a free case consultation and evaluation.  Keep in mind that many drug-related felonies are punishable by time in the California State Prison system.  Attorney Ross Erlich will be able to contact the law enforcement agencies with jurisdiction over your case before your court date and get information about the investigation.

A key tool used by law enforcement in drug-related arrests is the use and reliance on confidential informants, anonymous tips or other questionable sources of probable cause to obtain search warrants.  Because of questionable reliability of these sources, there are, often times, the need for criminal defense attorneys to file suppression motions in court attacking the constitutionality of the search based on the lack of probable cause.  If theses motions are granted, typically that means that the search, and therefore the drugs, must be suppressed from the prosecutor’s case and this often means a dismissal based on their inability to proceed.  These motions must take into account the source of tip or information, the procedures used by law enforcement, how they made an arrest.

There are many other factors to consider when dealing with a drug-related offense and it is important to make sure that law enforcement has done their job correctly and according to the laws on the books.  Drug diversion, or treatment options are available alternatives to jail or prison time in the right circumstances and with the right lawyer.

If you have been charged in Los Angeles with drug possession, possession for sale, drug transportation, drug manufacturing or any other drug offense, contact our office 24/7 for a consultation.  Drug crimes are heard in the downtown Criminal Courts Building (CCB), Airport Court, Pasadena Court, San Fernando Court, Van Nuys Court and the East Los Angeles Court.


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