Throughout the nation, lawmakers have realized that old drug crime policies
are ineffective. Today, there has been a visible shift from subjecting
low-level, non-violent drug offenders to stiff penalties to alternative
sentencing options that allow them to stay out of jail or prison and receive
the help they need. If you or someone you love has been arrested and charged
for a drug crime in Orange County, there is a possibility that you may
be eligible to pursue alternative sentencing options.
Alternative sentencing can be a beneficial option that allows you to fulfill
certain terms in lieu of being sentenced to terms of imprisonment. Alternative
sentencing is not always an option for criminal defendants, and courts
will consider a number of factors before allowing anyone to pursue these options.
Common factors considered when determining eligibility for alternative
- The nature of the charge and the circumstances involved
- A defendant's criminal history
- Any evidence or history of violent behavior
- Whether defendants pose risks to themselves or others
- A defendant's character, risks, and needs
If courts determine a defendant is eligible for alternative sentencing,
there are a number of options they may pursue. In California, two of the
most common alternative sentencing options include PC 1000 and Proposition 36.
Proposition 36 – Proposition 36 is a drug diversion program that allows certain
nonviolent offenders to have their charges dismissed when they successfully
complete court-mandated drug treatment programs. Programs may last for
a maximum of 2 years, but will typically last for 1 year. Individuals
who have been convicted of crimes such as possession, under the influence,
and other related non-violent possession charges may be eligible for Prop
36. Participants in Proposition 36 programs are also typically sentenced
California Penal Code (PC) 1000 – PC 1000, also known as deferred entry of judgment (DEJ) allows
non-violent drug offenders to attend drug treatment programs and have
their charges dismissed when they successfully complete the program. DEJ
may require 18-month to 3-year programs and offenders are not automatically
placed on probation.
Courts across the nation have begun to focus on rehabilitating drug offenders,
rather than unfairly punishing them. Although these options are available
to some, it does not mean that you should face the legal system without
representation, especially if aggravating circumstances are present.
If you would like to speak with an Orange County drug crime lawyer about
your options and how The Law Office of Barney B. Gibbs can help, contact
our firm for a free consultation.