Parent Diversion – SB 394

The California State Assembly recently enacted Senate Bill 394 which authorizes judicial discretion to place criminal defendants on what will be known as the “parental diversion program”.

A diversion program is described simply as the opportunity for a criminal defendant to have his/her case dismissed IF the defendant completes all ordered components of the program. The pre-existing laws which allowed criminals to participate in a pretrial diversion program included those with prior military service, and those suffering from the mental health or drug addiction issue. Now, however, with Senate Bill 349, the courts will include diversion for parents/primary caregivers of children under the age of 18.

Those who qualify for the program must be facing misdemeanor charges and/or nonviolent/nonserious felony charges (also known as non-strike offenses). Depending on the nature of their charge, the participant will be required to perform satisfactorily in parenting classes, anger management, drug/alcohol counseling, and/or mental health treatment, among other conditions.

To see if you qualify for this program, contact our office today to discuss with Certified Criminal Law Specialist Pat Carey.