Under Proposition 36 (California Penal Code § 1210), any person convicted of a nonviolent drug possession offense shall receive probation. This means you can qualify for a drug treatment program rather than jail time. As a condition of probation the court shall require participation in and completion of an appropriate drug treatment program. The judge may require the defendant to contribute to the cost of his or her own placement in a drug treatment program.
Exceptions (Defendants that do not qualify)
- Defendant who previously has been convicted of one or more violent or serious felonies do not qualify, unless the nonviolent drug possession offense occurred after a period of five years in which the defendant remained free of misdemeanor or felony convictions involving violence.
- Defendants that are charged with possession for sale do not qualify. Unless your attorney is able to reduce the charged to a simple possession, you will not qualify for this program.
- Any defendant who, while armed with a deadly weapon, with the intent to use the same as a deadly weapon, unlawfully possesses or is under the influence of any controlled substance.
- And more. (see the statute for a complete list)
If the defendant qualifies for the program, he/she will plead guilty to the offense and be placed on a formal probation (if the offense is a felony). In addition to completing the program, a judge may impose additional conditions on the probation. The defendant will then be referred to a Regional Recovery Center (RCC) and must report there within 7 days. RCC will assess the participant and assign the treatment program. There will be a 30 and a 90-day Court Hearings, where the judge may place a defendant on summary probation if the treatment is complete or a defendant is a low-risk felon. After 12 months and a successful completion of the program, the defendant may request a dismissal of the charges and for the conviction to be set aside.