For violations of certain criminal offenses, a defendant may be eligible for a diversion program. Diversion is the suspension of criminal proceedings for a specific period of time with certain conditions. If the defendant is unsuccessful in meeting these conditions, criminal proceedings will resume. If the defendant successfully completes these conditions, then the criminal charges are dismissed and a defendant may, with certain exceptions, legally answer that he or she has never been arrested for or charged with the diverted offense.
In California, Deferred Entry of Judgment (also known as DEJ) requires an eligible defendant who has been charged with a drug crime to plead guilty; but instead of being convicted, the case is put on hold for 18 months while the defendant takes a 6-month drug education class. If the class is completed and the defendant avoids an arrest or conviction for another crime, the case is dismissed. See Deferred Entry of Judgment
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