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Posted by Vitaly Sigal | Sep 07, 2010 | 0 Comments

There are several ways to defend a criminal case where a person is charged with drug offense. A skilled Los Angeles criminal lawyer will be able to attack the criminal complaint and many times exclude certain drug evidence from being admitted into the court record, thus getting the criminal charges dismissed outright. There are also several other criminal defenses and other ways of avoiding a criminal conviction for drug charges.

Many times however, when a person is charged with a drug crime, there are alternatives available so that the person does not end up with a criminal conviction on their record. These alternatives are may be available to people where there are not criminal defenses to the prosecutions case. Only a qualified criminal defense attorney with experience handling criminal and drug cases will be able to advise you of what your options are if you or a loved one are being charged with a drug crime.

This blog post is a short synopsis of two current options that a person has when they are charged with a drug crime. There may be other options available and that is why is it is essential to contact an experienced criminal lawyer as early as possible. CONTACT SIGAL LAW GROUP TODAY FOR A FREE CONSULTATION AND CRIMINAL CASE EVALUATION. 818 325-0570


The program referred to as deferred entry of judgment was enacted January 1, 1997 under California Penal Code § 1000. It was designed to help people that may have drug problems and avoid sending them to jail where space is needed for violent criminals and people convicted of more serious crimes.

The procedure for deferred entry of judgment requires a person to plead guilty to the criminal drug possession or other charges in open court. The court however will not enter the guilty plea or issue a judgment until a later date. Thus there is technically no conviction on a person's record.

During the time that the court defers or delays the judgment, the person must attend drug counseling sessions that are approved by the court. Once the person completes the drug program, the court must dismiss the criminal charges. So a successful completion of the program will mean that a person will not have a criminal conviction on their record. It is an excellent program that allows someone to avoid the harsh criminal penalties of a conviction.

That is why speaking to a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney about your drug charges is so crucial. Only someone with experience in handling drug cases in criminal court will be able to navigate you through the system successfully and help you avoid the dire consequences of a criminal conviction.

If a person faces criminal charges for a drug crime that is eligible for this program, the court and the criminal prosecutors, with the help and guidance of a criminal defense attorney will determine if that person is eligible for the program. In order to be eligible the following must be true:

  • The defendant has no conviction for another drug or narcotics offense, other than possession of less than 28.5 grams of marijuana.
  • The offense charged did not involve violence or the threat of violence.
  • There is no evidence of a violation relating to narcotics or drugs other than those enumerated in the deferred entry of judgment statute.
  • The defendant has not been convicted of a felony within the past five years.
  • The defendant's record does not indicate that a probation or parole has ever been revoked without thereafter being completed.
  • The defendant has not been granted diversion or deferred entry of judgment within the past five years.


Some people facing criminal charges for drug crimes that are not eligible for deferred entry of judgment may still be eligible for another alternative drug program called Proposition 36, which also can be a way to avoid criminal charges and having a criminal conviction on their record. Only a criminal defense attorney will be able to tell you if you qualify.

Proposition 36, is a law that was passed by the state legislature to give further options to persons who are charged with drug crimes The law establishes a program where people charged with certain drug crimes, to avoid criminal convictions and jail time by participating in a drug treatment program during the course of their criminal probation. After successfully completing the drug treatment program, the criminal conviction against a person will be dismissed by the criminal court.

The procedures mandated under Proposition 36 differ from those of the deferred entry of judgment program. Unlike the deferred entry of judgment program discussed above, Under Proposition 36 the court will enter a judgment on the record and the person will have a criminal conviction for the time being. The final outcome under both of these three programs is essentially the same for a person charged with a drug crime if that person successfully completes a drug treatment program: dismissal of the charge and any criminal conviction.


As you can see from the above section, the criminal laws relating to drug crimes in California can be very complicated and the criminal system difficult to maneuver. In addition to the above programs there may other sentencing alternatives available in addition to ways to beat a criminal case involving drug crimes. That is why is essential to contact an experienced criminal lawyer who will navigate the system on your behalf and ensure the best possible outcome to your criminal and drug case. CONTACT SIGAL LAW GROUP TODAY FOR A FREE CONSULTATION 818 325-0570

About the Author

Vitaly Sigal

Vitaly Sigal Sigal Law Group Owner 355 S. Grand Ave, Suite 2450 Los Angeles, CA 90071 (213) 620-0212 Vitaly Sigal has extensive trial experience and is not afraid to take your case to trial if necessary. From straightforward to complex litigation, Mr. Sigal handles every case with the same i...


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