Proposition 36

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Proposition 36

Proposition 36, also called The Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act, is a California law that views marijuana possession as a public health issue rather than a criminal issue for those individuals who are willing to accept treatment. Although this alternative sentencing option allows an individual to participate in a drug treatment program instead of suffering a jail or prison sentence, there are certain eligibility requirements that must be met as well as some disadvantages to serving this type of alternative sentence. Because of these issues, it is critical that an individual charged with a marijuana-related offense immediately contacts one of the skilled California drug criminal defense lawyers at The Kavinoky Law Firm who can help educate the accused about his or her options.

Proposition 36 allows those accused of non-violent drug offenses, including marijuana possession for personal use, to escape a jail or prison sentence that may otherwise be imposed in connection with a conviction. It includes a probation and drug treatment sentence, and specifically states that an eligible offender need not be incarcerated as part of his or her probation. This act applies to first and second time offenders – those who have repeatedly attempted rehabilitation will not qualify for this type of alternative sentence. Prop. 36 doesn’t change the laws that regulate marijuana use or possession, just the ways that one can be sentenced as a result of violating those laws.

Proposition 36 sentencing requires an individual to undergo drug treatment for up to one year (and possibly up to two years in extraordinary situations). Depending on the facts of the case, on the individual offender and on the judge, treatment will vary, but may consist of drug education or prevention courses, outpatient therapy, inpatient or residential drug rehabilitation or taking residence in a sober livingenvironment. Severe dependence and relapse issues will be considered by the court when deciding which type of treatment would most benefit the accused.

Proposition 36 is quite limited with respect to which offenses will qualify. Those accused of manufacturing, producing and/or selling marijuana are specifically prohibited from receiving this type of sentencing relief. However, even if an individual is charged with one of these (or one of the many other offenses that are not included in a Prop. 36 treatment program), an experienced marijuana defense lawyer may be able to arrange it so that his or her client pleads down to a lesser charge that will qualify for treatment. This is one of the reasons why it is so important for an individual accused of a marijuana-related offense to consult with a top criminal attorney who knows what types of charges he or she should be asking for when involved in plea negotiations with the prosecution.

Proposition 36 has an advantage over a drug diversion sentence in that a guilty plea is not a prerequisite to participate. However, if there is a conviction, it will remain on one’s record while in treatment and its dismissal upon completion of the program isn’t guaranteed.

A savvy, knowledgeable attorney from the Kavinoky Law Firm will explain all of the intricacies involved in a Proposition 36 sentence to an individual who may qualify for it, including the eligibility requirements and the advantages and disadvantages of pursuing this type of treatment before seeking it as an alternative to jail or prison. The firm has an in-depth knowledge about the different sentencing options available to their clients charged with marijuana offenses and will do their best to ensure that a client receives the option that best serves his or her needs. For the most trusted legal advice and to learn more about Prop. 36, contact The Kavinoky Law Firm today for a free consultation.