Often, it is more beneficial for drug offenders, especially those who are nonviolent, to be placed into a rehabilitation program opposed to juvenile detention. Drug offenders could avoid a criminal record by taking advantage of Penal Code 1000 PC, which is California’s deferred entry of judgement program, known as “DEJ.”
In 2000, the voters of California approved of Deferred Entry of Judgment, as part of Proposition 21. Offenders who meet necessary requirements are directed into drug rehab and ultimately diverted out of the California court system, through Penal Code 1000 PC. The decision to defer a drug offender to a drug treatment program is made by a judge, after the defendant pleads guilty to the charge or charges at hand.
To participate in California’s deferred entry program, the judge reviews the charges made and the offender’s history with the law. In accordance with Penal Code 1000 PC, a judge is able to dismiss the charges after the defendant’s successful completion of the rehab program, usually consisting of about a year and a half of assessments, counseling and education. Once dismissed, the case is sealed, deeming the minor’s arrest never even happened. If treatment has not been completed, however, the judge could still proceed with sentencing the offender.
Benefit of Deferred Entry of Juveniles
“DEJ” holds the defendant accountable for his or her actions and provides a consequence that lasts for about 18 months. The consequence, however, helps to show the juvenile how best to avoid future drug related problems and offenses. The main goal of the deferred entry of juveniles program is to bring about a change in behavior while keeping the young person out of a juvenile detention facility.
The following are some of the typical rules of the program:
- A probation officer is assigned to the offender and he or she must follow all the requirements of the officer.
- The juvenile must continue to attend classes, on a regular basis, at his or her school.
- The minor also will be asked to choose and complete an approved community service project.
- The young person must additionally allow an officer to conduct searches for drugs and seize what may be found.
- A curfew is put in place and must be obeyed by the juvenile.
- The minor may not violate any further laws while in the program.
Consequences of program failure:
If the minor is not able to abide by the program rules or picks up an additional drug charge, the individual most likely would be sent to juvenile court, where a defense attorney would have to appeal to the judge to allow the young person to be placed back into the program for another time. A judge may or may not allow the minor a second chance, however, after reviewing the defendant’s history.
For more information:
A young person facing drug charges extremely could benefit from California’s deferred entry of judgement program for juveniles. The program often is the goal of a defense attorney, as it could only help the minor have a more profitable future. For more information, contact our office at (619) 357-4977.