AB 3234: California’s New Misdemeanor Diversion Law

Under Assembly Bill 3234, superior court judges can offer a diversion program to people charged with qualifying misdemeanors. On January 1, 2021, the state expanded eligible misdemeanors to include crimes like DUI, assault, drug crimes, criminal threats, vehicular manslaughter, elder abuse, child abuse, and carrying a concealed firearm. Misdemeanor crimes like domestic battery, stalking, and sexual-related crimes that mandate sex offender registration are not eligible for diversion.

How Does AB 3234 Work?

AB 3234 allows defendants to have their misdemeanor cases dismissed and even erased from their record if they successfully complete the diversion program. AB 3234 does not require defendants to plead guilty in advance, even if they are accused of misdemeanor DUI under Vehicle Code 23152 VC.

Instead of having a trial, the judge can "divert" the case and order the defendant to complete specific terms, conditions, and programs. The terms and conditions set by the judge generally include programs relevant to the circumstances and the criminal record of the defendant. This can include an anger management course, drug or alcohol treatment program, community service, or a combination of programs specifically designed for the defendant.

A case can be postponed for up to 24 months under AB 3234. During this period, the defendant must comply and complete all of the orders for the diversion program.

Defendants offered a diversion program must complete the following to have their cases dismissed:

  • All court-ordered conditions
  • Pay restitution to the victim
  • Comply with protective or stay-away orders
  • Comply with orders prohibiting possession of firearms

Contact Our Misdemeanor Diversion Lawyers Today

If you are facing misdemeanor charges, do not hesitate to get in touch with our seasoned criminal defense team at Lessem, Newstat & Toosonson, LLP so we can assess your situation and determine if you are eligible for a diversion program. Don’t underestimate the impact that a misdemeanor conviction will have on your future. Contact us today so we can put our skills to work defending your rights under the law.

Call (800) 462-7160 or complete our convenient online form to set up a case consultation with one of our lawyers.