What is a Deferred Entry of Judgment (DEJ)?
Deferred entry of judgment (DEJ) is a program where the defendant pleads guilty, but the charges will be dismissed if they fulfill a probationary agreement that includes a treatment program and other conditions.
If the defendant fails to complete the terms of the agreement, the charges will be reinstated. At this point, the defendant will not be able to challenge the charges, and the judge is allowed to apply the maximum sentence for the offense that was charged.
Defendants facing misdemeanor or felony charges of drug possession may be eligible for DEJ. But eligibility is based on the defendant’s criminal record. And it does not apply to charges that include violent acts or possession with intent to sell.
Eligibility for DEJ
When a defendant agrees to DEJ, you are waving your right to a speedy trial. You are also agreeing to complete the conditions of the agreement without incurring any further charges in a separate criminal case.
To be eligible for DEJ, you must meet the following conditions:
- No convictions in the last 5 years for a crime that would not be eligible for DEJ.
- You have not been in a diversion program in the last 5 years.
- You have never violated probation or parole.
- No violence or threats were involved in the charges against you.
- There’s no evidence of more a serious offense that would not be eligible for DEJ.
What’s Included in a DEJ Agreement
With a DEJ agreement, the court is agreeing to withhold sentencing until you have time to complete the conditions of probation. When you successfully complete the terms of DEJ, the charges will be dismissed, and the record of your arrest can be sealed.
Terms of DEJ probation may include:
- Drug and alcohol treatment
- Abstinence from drugs or alcohol
- Mental health counseling
- Anger management classes
- Victim restitution
- Community service
What Is Pretrial Diversion?
A diversion program is similar to DEJ, but there are significant differences. This can be confusing because people often use the terms interchangeably. Like DEJ, pretrial diversion is an agreement between the court that allows the defendant to get a case dismissed by meeting certain probationary conditions.
One major difference between DEJ and pretrial diversion is that with pretrial diversion, a defendant who fails to meet the probationary conditions still has the option of fighting the charges in court.
California has a pretrial diversion program for misdemeanor offenses. There’s also pretrial diversion for specific mental health problems. If the court approves mental health diversion, the defendant has two years to complete an inpatient or outpatient program.
Were You Charged with a Drug Crime?
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