Proposition 36 - Penal Code 1210.1

Alternatives to Jail or Prison Time for Drug PossessionPeople facing charges for drug possession and use may be able to avoid a conviction or time in county jail or state prison depending on the circumstances of their offenses and their criminal records. Two different programs - Proposition 36 under Penal Code 1210.1 and Deferred Entry of Judgment under Penal Code 1000 - give the opportunity to undergo drug treatment in exchange for the possibility of obtaining a dismissal of the drug charges. Both programs are aimed at drug users with the premise that treatment is preferable to incarceration. These programs are not available for people charged with manufacturing, selling, or trafficking drugs.

With personal use and possession of marijuana now legal in California because of voter approval of Proposition 64 in November 2016, both Proposition 36 and Deferred Entry of Judgment pertain to the possession and use of illegal drugs other than marijuana.

Though the programs are similar in intent, they do have important differences. Proposition 36 - passed by voters in 2000 - is described below. Click here or on the tab to the left to read about "Deferred Entry of Judgment."

If you're facing charges for drug use or possession, it's important to consult with an experienced drug possession defense attorney to determine which program best suites your situation.

Proposition 36 - Penal Code 1210.1PC 1210.1 provides people charged with non-violent possession of illegal drugs the chance to enter a treatment program rather than be sentenced to jail or prison. PC 1210.1 has complex guidelines regarding who can take advantage of the program, so it's important contact a qualified criminal attorney for review of your case.

Under PC 1210.1, the defendant agrees to enter a guilty plea. The judge in turn enters a judgment, which means that a conviction goes on the defendant's criminal record. But rather than being sentenced to jail or prison, the defendant is granted probation, during which time he is expected to enter a drug treatment program. The judge also has leeway to mandate counseling, community service, or other requirements.

If at the end of the probationary period the defendant has completed the drug treatment program and all other terms of probation, the judge orders the charges dismissed. Moreover, PC 1210.1(e)(1) states that "both the arrest and the conviction shall be deemed never to have occurred," which means that the defendant is not required to disclose the arrest or dismissed conviction when questioned by prospective employers or other interest parties. (The exception is to questions that arise from application for a position as a peace officer.)

As mentioned above, requirements for this program are complex. For example, in general terms people with prior convictions for serious felonies are not allowed to participate in a treatment program under PC 1210.1. However, the program is still an option if during the preceding five years they have not been in prison and they have not been convicted of a felony (other than a non-violent drug possession crime), or of a misdemeanor involving violence. In addition, people are ineligible if they have participated in two prior treatment programs under PC 1210.1, refused drug treatment as a condition of probation, or used a deadly weapon while under the influence of illegal substances.

Free and Confidential ConsultationIf you're facing drug charges, call me at (916) 442-1200 to discuss whether a drug treatment program under PC 1210.1 - Proposition 36 - would be a good choice for you.