You made a mistake that turned out to be against the law. It was your first time. And now you are facing criminal charges. A diversion may be offered to help you avoid a criminal conviction. Diversion is generally available for defendants who are first-time offenders or are facing drug charges.
There are two types of diversion in California: formal diversion and informal diversion. Both will be discussed below.
What Is Formal Diversion?
Formal diversion refers to a situation where a defendant enters a plea, either guilty or no contest to the charge(s), but sentencing is continued to a later date. Under California law, you cannot be “convicted” of a crime if you are not formally sentenced by the judge. As such, a diversion plea avoids conviction since sentencing is continued to a later date. During the “wait time,” you are required to complete the terms of the diversion plea, such as community service, anger management, domestic violence counseling, or attending AA meetings.
If you complete the terms of your diversion plea, your guilty or no contest plea will be withdrawn and the judge will dismiss the case altogether. Consequently, you will avoid a formal conviction on your record. It should be noted that even though your case is legally dismissed, you may still need to report your guilty plea or no contest plea if you are applying for public employment. It may also impact your ability to own or possess a firearm or gain or maintain a state license.
What Is an Informal Diversion?
Informal diversion is far more beneficial because it continues a criminal case for a certain period of time without entering a guilty plea or no contest plea. During this continuation period, you are required to complete the terms of the diversion. If you complete your obligations, the court will dismiss your case. There is nothing for you to report to anyone or any agency since you never plead guilty, not guilty or no contest.
Call an Experienced Stockton Criminal Defense Attorney
If you or someone that you care about has been charged with a crime and facing the possibility of jail time, it is imperative that you immediately hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to help protect your legal rights and ensure that you have the best defense possible to avoid a criminal conviction.
For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation with Stockton criminal defense attorney Gurjit Srai, please call us at (209) 323-5558 or (559) 314-2796, or complete our online form.