If you are facing criminal charges, you might have heard of the option of a deferred entry of judgment. What is this option? Is it the best option for you and your case? Keep reading to get basic answers to your questions about deferred entries of judgment, and then contact Law Office of Michael L. Fell at (949) 585-9055 for a free legal consultation with a qualified criminal defense attorney.
What is a Deferred Entry of Judgment?
Let us begin with the basics: what is a deferred entry of judgment? It is a type of pretrial diversion that allows the defendant to plead either guilty or no contest, but they are not convicted and sentenced right away. Instead, they complete probation and a program as agreed upon with the courts. If they successfully do so, then the case is dismissed, and their criminal record can be sealed.
What is Involved in a Diversion Program?
A deferred judgment might sound good at first, but many people then wonder: what is involved in the diversion program? There are two types: mental health diversion programs and misdemeanor diversions such as drug diversion.
What is the Difference Between a Deferred Entry of Judgment and a Pretrial Diversion?
They are both the same process in a criminal case, but 2018 law amendments changed important parts of the process. It used to be true that a deferred entry of judgment required the defendant to plead guilty. That means that they had already made a judgment, but the judgment was not entered if the defendant completed the diversion program.
Today, in a pretrial diversion, the defendant is not required to plead guilty to the crime. It is the same process as the deferred entry of judgment except for this small part.
What is a Mental Health Diversion?
Defendants who are dealing with certain mental health issues can request from the court that an entry is differed. The defendant can then complete a mental health program to have their case diverted from the trial. The court must approve this option, and the mental health program must be completed within two years, either in-patient or outpatient.
Who is Eligible for a Mental Health Diversion?
A person who suffers from a mental health condition other than pedophilia, borderline personality disorder, or antisocial personality disorder might be eligible for a mental health diversion, but they must also be able to show that their mental disorder affected their behavior that led to the charges, a mental health expert must believe that the defendant could respond to mental health treatment, the defendant must agree to waive their right to a speedy trial, and the court must agree that the defendant does not pose a risk to the public.
If you want to know if your case might qualify you for a diversion program or if you have a better option, contact Law Office of Michael L. Fell at (949) 585-9055 for a free legal consultation.