Criminal Defense in Orange County

How Does Deferred Entry of Judgment (DEJ) Work?

If you have been arrested for a minor drug offense in California, you may be eligible for deferred entry of judgment (DEJ). Under Penal Code 1000, certain individuals are given the opportunity to have their criminal proceedings suspended in exchange for the successful completion of a drug treatment program. If a defendant is given the opportunity to participate in a drug program, their criminal proceedings may be suspended for a period of time—usually around 18 months—while they "get clean."

If the defendant successfully completes the drug program, the judge will dismiss the charges altogether. The defendant may also state that they have never been arrested for this particular offense if they are questioned in the future. If the drug treatment program is not completed, however, the charges will stand, and the judge would have the authority to sentence the drug offender accordingly. Deferred entry of judgment can be largely beneficial, as long as the defendant takes the program seriously.

Who is eligible for drug diversion in California?

Deferred entry of judgment is not available to everyone who has been arrested for a drug crime. Drug diversion is only offered to those who have been arrested for "qualifying" offenses.

This means that you would only be eligible for drug diversion if:

  • The drugs discovered were for personal use (not sale)
  • The crime did not involve violence or threatened violence

Crimes that may qualify you for DEJ include personal possession of a controlled substance, possession of marijuana (less than one ounce), possession of drug paraphernalia and "being under the influence."

How Your Past Could Affect Your Eligibility

Even if you were arrested for a "qualifying" drug offense in Orange County, you may not have the option to enroll in a drug treatment program if your criminal history has disqualified you.

You may not qualify for deferred entry of judgment (DEJ) if:

  • You were convicted of any type of drug crime in the past
  • Your probation or parole was revoked without completing the terms
  • You participated in a DEJ program within the last five years
  • You were convicted of a felony within the last five years

If you do not meet these criteria, you may be ineligible for California's deferred entry of judgment program—which means that you would need to fight your criminal charges in court.

The Benefits of Deferred Entry of Judgment

One of the most significant advantages of deferred entry of judgment (DEJ) is that your charges will be dropped as soon as you complete a court-approved drug program. This means that you could move on with your life as if the arrest never happened. When applying for jobs or housing in the future, you could truthfully state that you have never been arrested for and/or convicted of a drug crime. The only exception is that you must disclose the arrest if you decide to apply for a job as a police officer. With this in mind, you may want to explore your options with a criminal lawyer after a drug-related arrest.

Discuss Your Options with The Law Office of Barney B. Gibbs

Were you recently arrested for a drug offense in Orange County, CA? If so, you should move quickly to discuss the specific nature of your case with the criminal defense attorney at The Law Office of Barney B. Gibbs. Having handled more than 2,500 cases over the last three decades—1,100 of which resulted in a complete dismissal of the charges—Barney Gibbs is more than qualified to represent you. We are available to clients 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so we encourage you to give us a call today!