As of January 1, 2021, California Penal Code Section 1001.95 allows a judge to grant diversion in most misdemeanor cases. When a criminal defendant is granted diversion, their case is put “on hold” while the defendant complies with terms laid out by the judge; if the defendant complies with the judge's terms, the case is eventually dismissed.
Crawford Law Firm attorney Brett Hartmann has brought several successful diversion motions since the new law took effect. Because of these wins, many clients who would have otherwise been convicted will now avoid a criminal record. These diversion motions have been won in a wide variety of cases. Below is a sample of the types of cases where Mr. Hartmann has successfully argued for diversion under the new law.
Speed Contest/Street Racing
In this case, Mr. Hartmann's client was charged with a violation of Vehicle Code Section 23109(a), sometimes referred to as “street racing”. The client was observed by California Highway Patrol traveling on Highway 1 in Monterey County at a high rate of speed. The officer estimated that the client was driving around 100 mph. He was pulled over, along with a friend who was also driving fast next to Mr. Hartmann's client.
The client's friend was represented by another attorney. That attorney advised the friend to plead guilty, and the friend received a misdemeanor conviction (along with a jail sentence and 2 points on his license). However, Mr. Hartmann advised his client to proceed with a motion for Misdemeanor Diversion pursuant to Penal Code Section 1001.95. Mr. Hartmann convinced the Monterey County Judge to grant diversion. Ultimately, Mr. Hartmann's client will avoid a conviction, a fine, jail time, and points on his driving record because of this win.
Driving on a Suspended License
In this case, Mr. Hartmann's client was charged with a violation of Vehicle Code Section 14601.2(a) – driving on a suspended license (where the license was suspended due to a prior DUI). If convicted, this charge carries a mandatory minimum of 10 days in jail, a $1,000 fine, and 2 points on the drivers DMV record.
Mr. Hartmann not only helped the client regain his driver's license through DMV, but was able to convince the judge to grant diversion on the charged offense. By fighting for diversion, Mr. Hartmann saved his client several thousands of dollars in fines, missed work, and insurance rate increases.
Here, Mr. Hartmann's client was charged with misdemeanor battery (Penal Code Section 242). The client in this case essentially admitted to the battery when interviewed by the police.
This client had previously been represented by the Public Defender. The Public Defender had advised her to take the deal, which would have resulted in 30 days in Monterey County Jail. Mr. Hartmann advised her to reject this offer and to pursue Misdemeanor Diversion pursuant to Penal Code 1001.95. We filed a lengthy motion on her behalf and argued vigorously to a skeptical judge. After hearing our argument, the judge granted our motion for diversion. As part of the diversion, our client was ordered to attend a small number of anger management classes and do a handful of community service hours.
In this case, our client will complete diversion and wind up with a clean record. Not only will she not have a conviction on her record, but the arrest record will also be sealed.
In this case, the client was visiting Big Sur on vacation. The client went around a fence in order to explore a closed-off area of Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. The client then tried to climb down to the shore, and unfortunately became stranded on a cliff for several hours. The client was eventually airlifted out of danger and was promptly cited by the Park Department for trespassing and “unsafe recreation”, both misdemeanors.
The prosecutor had offered a deal for misdemeanor probation and no jail time. However, Mr. Hartmann advised his client to try for diversion in order to keep the client's record clean. Ultimately, the judge granted diversion on the condition that the client complete a small amount of community service. Again, the client will avoid all of the consequences of a conviction because of Mr. Hartmann's success in court.
In Mr. Hartmann's most recent diversion victory, his client was charged with a violation of Penal Code Section 647(j)(4)(A) – most commonly referred to as “revenge porn”. The client had no prior criminal history. There was also clear evidence that the client was a victim of domestic violence in the very same case. However, the prosecutor chose to only prosecute Mr. Hartmann's client. If convicted, the client would almost certainly lose his professional license and his career.
The Prosecutor made an offer to resolve the case for a lesser charge and 6-months of misdemeanor probation. However, because of the potential career impact of a conviction, Mr. Hartmann made a strong motion for diversion. The hearing on the motion was contentious. The alleged “victim” was allowed to speak to the judge about Mr. Hartmann's client; the statement from the “victim” was very inflammatory. However, Mr. Hartmann was able to advocate for his client, resulting in a win. Again, the client will avoid significant consequences and will have his case dismissed.
If you are charged with a misdemeanor offense, you should strongly consider asking for diversion under the new law. Call The Crawford Law Firm attorney Brett Hartmann for a free consultation.