Penal Code 1000

Graveyard shift cab drivers and criminal defense lawyers are repeatedly witnesses to a hard truth in California: Illegal drug use is common.

Not only is it common, it is common among people from a variety of backgrounds. Educated, uneducated, wealthy, middle class, poor, black, white, conservative, liberal, spiritual, non-religious… you name it, attorneys and guys driving taxis after midnight see it over and over. Consequently, if you are reading this because you have been arrested on controlled substance possession charges, you can take a small measure of comfort in the fact that you are hardly alone.

Because courts in California are swamped with drug related cases, a number of incarceration alternatives are available to many defendants. A savvy defense attorney should be able to steer your case in the direction of such a program/disposition, and P.C. 1000 is the best one currently available in our state.

P.C. 1000 (sometimes called DEJ or diversion) basically works like this: An assessment of your background is performed. Once the judge determines that you are a suitable candidate for this diversionary program (no history of violence, no substantial drug conviction record. etc.), you enroll in a drug treatment course (wherein you can expect to be periodically tested for presence of controlled substances in your system). After a period of time (usually 18 months), if you have successfully completed the course, the charges against you are dropped. No conviction results, and you can even lawfully answer (under most circumstances) that you have never been arrested for drug related charges.

Proposition 36 is another diversionary form of sentencing that knowledgeable defense attorneys consider almost as good a deal for their clients as PC 1000.

Prop 36 is similar to P.C. 1000 with a few distinctions. The major ones are that a person who pleads under Prop 36 is placed on formal probation, and that a defendant does not automatically have his charges dismissed upon successful completion of the program. That decision is left to the discretion of the judge. The reality, however, is that the men in black robes want to encourage defendants to confront their drug problems and seek treatment, consequently, the chances of the case being dismissed upon successful completion of a Prop 36 drug program are quite high.

Please keep in mind that neither of these sentencing alternatives will be available to a defendant in California who has been charged with HS 11351, Possession of Narcotics with Intent to Sell. From the justice system’s perspective, having drugs is a far less serious offense than having drugs available for sale. Possession and Possession for Sale are considerably different animals. Therefore, if you have been charged with a possession with intent to distribute violation, you are essentially wasting your time looking for answers on the internet. The nature of the case you are facing will require the services of a capable, experienced criminal defense attorney whom you should seek out immediately.


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