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Proposition 36: Drug Diversion Series Part 2

Proposition 36 Treatment

Prop. 36 is an alternative sentencing program designed to provide drug treatment for people convicted of non-violent drug possession and under the influence offenses.  It is a somewhat intensive program that combines therapy and testing in order to help the offender obtain sobriety.  Prop. 36 is not available for people convicted of drug sales, manufacturing or possession with intent to sell. 

 People Not Eligible for Prop. 36

A person is ineligible for the Prop. 36 program if:

  1. They were incarcerated within the last 5 years for a serious or violent felony.
  2. They were convicted in the same case of a non-drug related misdemeanor or felony.
  3. During the commission of the offense they possessed a firearm and, at the same time were either under the influence or possessed cocaine, heroin, meth or PCP.
  4. They refuse treatment.
  5. They have 2 separate drug related convictions, have participated in Prop. 36 twice before, and have been found to be unamenable to treatment.  (Penal Code Section 1210.1(b).)

How Prop. 36 Program Works

The Prop. 36 program begins when the person pleads guilty or no contest to an eligible drug possession or under-the-influence offense.  Following the plea, the judge will order probation. The person will then undergo a personal assessment by a probation officer who will determine the type of treatment best suited for the particular person.  From there the person is placed into an outpatient or residential (live-in) program for 1 year. 

 Here is a list of substance abuse programs in Placer County.

 Cost of the Program

Placer County receives a grant for Prop. 36 so part of the treatment is paid for by the County so long as a qualified provider is used.  However, there is a co-pay and the amount varies depending on the person’s level of income. 

 What is the Actual Program Like?

Once the program begins, the person is required to undergo several treatment, counseling and testing procedures.  For instance, the person must undergo group and/or one-on-one counseling.  This may occur daily or once a week depending on the program.  The person usually must also participate in self-help programs such as Alcoholics or Narcotics Anonymous.  Additionally, they must make regular court appearances approximately every 2 to 3 months (a minimum of 4 times) were they are required to provide the court with progress reports from the program. Finally, they must undergo random urinalysis testing once a week.  If the person violates any of these conditions more than twice, he will likely be kicked out of the program, have their probation revoked, and be sentenced. 

 What Happens Upon Completion of Prop. 36

Once a person successfully completes the probation requirements as directed by the court, they may petition to have their conviction set aside and have their charges dismissed similar to DEJ.  However, if they fail to complete the requirements of the sentence, the court will revoke their probation and impose a sentence.  Note that a person is afforded the right to a hearing and an opportunity to challenge the decision prior to being revoked. 

I have helped thousands of clients navigate through the Prop. 36 process in Placer County.  Call me if you are facing a drug charge and I will help you evaluate your case and your diversion options.

~Dan Koukol, Placer County Criminal Defense Attorney

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