Drug Diversion and DUI
For relatively minor drug possession and possession of drug paraphernalia cases, drug diversion is available which results in the defendant attending a drug diversion program and agreeing to remain offense free for a period of one year pursuant to Penal Code Section 1000. At the end of the year, the charges are dismissed. Disqualifying factors may include prior drug convictions, or a prior failure to complete a diversion program.
Additionally, if the defendant has associated charges involving violence or an additional, non-qualifying drug charge, diversion is inappropriate. The problem arises if a defendant is additionally charged with a DUI involving suspected impairement with drugs. DUI based on drugs does not qualify for diversion and so associated drug possession charges would also be disqualified from diversion.
If a defendant is charged both with possession of drugs and DUI based on drugs, diversion is routinely denied and defense counsel must seek another strategy for defending the charges. Sometimes, there will be a seperate defense to the possession charge such as an unlawful search and seizure, lack of evidence that the drugs were in the possession of the defendant (perhaps the drugs belonged to a passenger), or a medical marijuana defense. Alternatively, if there is a valid defense to the DUI charge, so that a prosecutor agrees to dismiss it, drug diversion then becomes an option again for the possession charge.
If you have been arrested for felony or misdemeanor drug possession charges in Los Angeles in addition to DUI based on drugs, you need experienced guidance on how best to defend both charges. Please call Gold & Witham at (310) 473-2304 for expert advice and representation.