Misdemeanor Diversion

Many misdemeanors are now eligible to apply for diversion. If a judge grants diversion in your misdemeanor case, the case will ultimately be dismissed if you complete it successfully. We have been successful in getting diversion in all sorts of cases from theft to drugs to crimes of violence. We may be able to get you into a diversion program. In order to obtain diversion, we need to file a motion to divert the case. This may be granted even over the prosecutor’s objection.

Penal Code section 1001.95 states:

  1.  A judge in the superior court in which a misdemeanor is being prosecuted may, at the judge’s discretion, and over the objection of a prosecuting attorney, offer diversion to a defendant pursuant to these provisions.
  2.  A judge may continue a diverted case for a period not to exceed 24 months and order the defendant to comply with terms, conditions, or programs that the judge deems appropriate based on the defendant’s specific situation.
  3.  If the defendant has complied with the imposed terms and conditions, at the end of the period of diversion, the judge shall dismiss the action against the defendant.
  4.  If it appears to the court that the defendant is not complying with the terms and conditions of diversion, after notice to the defendant, the court shall hold a hearing to determine whether the criminal proceedings should be reinstituted. If the court finds that the defendant has not complied with the terms and conditions of diversion, the court may end the diversion and order resumption of the criminal proceedings.
  5.  A defendant may not be offered diversion pursuant to this section for any of the following current charged offenses:
    • Any offense for which a person, if convicted, would be required to register pursuant to Section 290.
    • A violation of Section 273.5.
    • A violation of subdivision (e) of Section 243.
    • A violation of Section 646.9.

Penal Code section 1001.96 states:

A defendant who is diverted pursuant to this chapter shall be required to complete all of the following in order to have their action dismissed:

  1.  Complete all conditions ordered by the court.
  2. Make full restitution. However, a defendant’s inability to pay restitution due to indigence shall not be grounds for denial of diversion or a finding that the defendant has failed to comply with the terms of diversion.
  3.  Comply with a court-ordered protective order, stay-away order, or order prohibiting firearm possession, if applicable.

Penal Code section 1001.97 states:

  1.  Upon successful completion of the terms, conditions, or programs ordered by the court pursuant to Section 1001.95, the arrest upon which diversion was imposed shall be deemed to have never occurred. The defendant may indicate in response to any question concerning their prior criminal record that they were not arrested. A record pertaining to an arrest resulting in successful completion of the terms, conditions, or programs ordered by the court shall not, without the defendant’s consent, be used in any way that could result in the denial of any employment, benefit, license, or certificate.
  2.  The defendant shall be advised that, regardless of their successful completion of diversion, the arrest upon which the diversion was based may be disclosed by the Department of Justice in response to a peace officer application request and that, notwithstanding subdivision (a), this section does not relieve them of the obligation to disclose the arrest in response to a direct question contained in a questionnaire or application for a position as a peace officer, as defined in Section 830.