Being arrested for a crime does not necessarily mean you will be convicted. Often we can help you get charges reduced or dismissed, and avoid jail and a criminal record.
Yes, but less so now that LADA (Los Angeles District Attorney) has adopted Special Directive 20-07. In attempt to promote rehabilitation over punishment, LADA will decline to press charges in many California misdemeanor cases. Instead, LADA will divert these suspects to treatment providers (called “diversion“) in attempt to keep them from reoffending.
LADA will decline or dismiss charges prior to the arraignment for the following misdemeanors unless an exception or other considerations exist.
Misdemeanors that will be declined or dismissed
Factors allowing prosecutors to press charges*
|Trespass (Penal Code 602(a)-(y) PC)||
|Disturbing The Peace (Penal Code 415(1)-(3) PC)||
|Driving Without A Valid License (Vehicle Code 12500(a)-(e) VC)||
|Driving On A Suspended License (Vehicle Code 14601.1(a) VC)||
|Criminal Threats (Penal Code 422 PC)||
|Possession of a Controlled Substance (Health & Safety Code 11350 HS)||None identified.|
|Possession of Marijuana (Health & Safety Code 11357 HS||None identified.|
|Possession of Drug Paraphernalia (Health & Safety Code 11364 HS)||None identified.|
|Possession of Controlled Substances formerly classified as Restricted Dangerous Drugs (Health & Safety Code 11377 HS)||None identified.|
|Minor in Possession of Alcohol (Business & Professions 25662(a) BP)||None identified.|
|Drinking in Public (Los Angeles County Municipal Code §13.18.010)||None identified.|
|Under the Influence of Controlled Substance (Health & Safety Code 11550 HS)||None identified.|
|Public Intoxication (Penal Code 647(f) PC)||None identified.|
|Loitering (Penal Code 647(b),(c), (d), (e) PC)||
|Loitering To Commit Prostitution (Penal Code 653.22(a)(1) PC) (now repealed)||None identified.|
|Resisting Arrest (Penal Code 148(a) PC)||
|* Prosecutors may still be able to press charges if the suspect poses an identifiable, continuing threat to another person and if the prosecutors consult with their supervisor and place the justification in writing.|
This list is not exhaustive – prosecutors may decline similar charges in keeping with the Special Directive’s spirit.
Diversion programs typically last six months, but they may last up to 18 months. Depending on the case, they may consist of classes, counseling, and other rehabilitative treatment programs.
Yes, and any plea deals must meet the following conditions:
Misdemeanor prosecution typically does more harm than good. Most people cited or arrested for non-violent offenses need help, not punishment. They would benefit more by getting treatment rather than being fined money they cannot pay back or incarcerated in jails that drain taxpayer money.
Meanwhile, one misdemeanor conviction can have destructive, lifelong consequences. It can cause defendants to lose their employment or be passed over for other jobs. It can cause defendants to be rejected in housing applications. And it can cause defendants to be denied a professional license that they are other qualified for.
In short, the punishment for a misdemeanor conviction far outweighs the transgression itself. And for defendants suffering from mental illness, substance abuse addiction, alcoholism, or homelessness, a conviction solves nothing and just makes it harder for them to advance in life. By switching focus from punishment to rehabilitation without pressing charges, LADA hopes to help not only the individuals but also society at large. If you are charged with a crime, contact our LA criminal defense lawyers.
Go to the LADA Special Directive 20-07 to read the full policies.
A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.
You may have been convicted of a misdemeanor DUI charge or a misdemeanor disturbing the peace offense. Now you are looking for work. How do you account for your criminal history? They are four key pointers when it comes to explaining a misdemeanor conviction on a job application. These are: do not lie, avoid going ...
In California, misdemeanor offenses are crimes punishable by custody in county jail for up to 364 days, and fines of up to $1000.00. These offenses can also result in the imposition of fines and/or misdemeanor (or summary) probation (with conditions such as restitution, community service, and participation in counseling or treatment programs). Misdemeanor crimes in California ...
If you’ve been arrested for theft in California, whether you face a felony charge or a misdemeanor charge largely depends on the value of the property you are accused of stealing. Generally, if you are charged with theft of property valued at $950 or less, it will constitute “petty theft” and be prosecuted as a ...
The 5 most typical consequences of a misdemeanor conviction are: a fine, jail time, misdemeanor probation, possible loss of gun rights, and negative employment consequences. Most states define a “misdemeanor” as a crime for which the maximum sentence is no more than one year in county jail. A misdemeanor is a less serious crime than ...