Criminal Defense in Orange County

Alternative Sentencing Options for Drug Crimes

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 sentencing include:

  • 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 to probation.
  • 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.