New Law for Misdemeanor Diversion: What Does It Mean for You?


A new law in California has gone into effect as of January 2021. This law, Assembly Bill 282 changed aspects of Penal Code 1001.95 to allow for misdemeanor diversion. What is this and what does it mean for your case? While only a qualified California defense lawyer can advise you on the specifics of your case, you should know about this new law and what it might mean.

How Did Assembly Bill 282 Change Penal Code 1001.95?

Assembly Bill 282 made changes to the Penal Code 1001.95 to change who qualifies for misdemeanor diversion. It adds exceptions for those charged with reckless conduct while driving or boating under the influence. However, other types of DUI may allow for misdemeanor diversion. The decision to permit a defendant to divert their case depends on the ruling of the judge in the case. In fact, this penal code allows the judge to overrule the request of the prosecution to prohibit diversion. However, if the defendant does not meet the requirements the judge sets forth for diversion, they will receive a warning. After which, they may return to court to have their criminal case reopened and tried.

As with all legal cases, the specifics of the case dictate how a lawyer will defend it and whether misdemeanor diversion is an option.

What Is Misdemeanor Diversion?

Misdemeanor diversion allows a judge to choose to divert a case from the court for up to 24 months. The defendant must meet the requirements of diversion the judge outlines during that time. If they uphold the court’s requirements, the defendant will have their case dismissed. However, if they fail to comply, they could go back to court.

Not all misdemeanors qualify for this option. The judge decides in cases whether to offer this choice. Plus, some people charged with misdemeanors are not allowed to have their cases diverted, even if the judge wants to. All defendants should talk to their lawyers about this new law and how it might pertain to their case.

Who Qualifies for Misdemeanor Diversion?

Some misdemeanors do not qualify for diversion. These include:

  • DUIs with reckless action in a vehicle or boat
  • Stalking cases
  • Domestic abuse cases
  • Any cases that would require the convicted to register as a sex offender under Section 290

Because the law includes nuances in how defendants are charged, a qualified lawyer should be the first person anyone charged with a misdemeanor should consult.

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