Yesterday, Attorney Michael Mehr went to Sacramento to support legislation (AB 1351) to amend PC 1000 to change deferred entry of judgement after a guilty plea to pretrial diversion for minor drug offenses. The Senate Public Safety Committee approved AB 1351. The measure moves on to the State Senate Appropriations Committee and then the State Senate. The Assembly has already passed this bill.
Under current state law, even though a defendant completes a diversion program and is told that the case is dismissed under state law, the arrest will be deemed to have never occurred, and no benefit will be denied based on the charge, a non-citizen can still be deported for this offense and ineligible to become a permanent resident. This bill would change that result. This bill is a modest change in the current law which will promote fairness to non-citizens who have successfully completed a diversion program.
In addition, AB 1352 also passed the Senate Public Safety Committee which will allow non-citizens who have been misinformed by the court that they will not be denied any benefit after the case has been dismissed, to withdraw their plea of guilty and have their case dismissed again if they have successfully completed diversion.
Attorney Mehr helped draft this legislation in conjunction with Immigrant Legal Resource Center and the Drug Policy Alliance and has worked to gain legislative approval of these bills.
If the bills are passed by the State Senate and signed by the Governor, it is likely that the new legislation will be effective in January 2016. Until then, if you have a drug possession charge or charge for being under the influence of drugs, contact me for the best strategy to take advantage of this anticipated change in the law. If you already had your case dismissed under P.C. 1000 after successfully completing diversion, also contact me so I can tell you how this anticipated change in the law can be used to protect you from deportation or inadmissibility.