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Can Proposition 36 keep you out of jail?

On Behalf of | Jul 6, 2023 | Criminal Defense

In California, the state law known as Proposition 36 offers a potential lifeline for individuals charged with certain non-violent drug offenses. This law can provide an alternative to jail time, focusing instead on treatment and rehabilitation.

Proposition 36, also known as the Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act, aims to change the way the state deals with non-violent drug offenders.

Understanding Proposition 36

Passed in 2000, Proposition 36 allows eligible individuals convicted of non-violent drug possession offenses to receive a probationary sentence in lieu of jail time. The probation involves a drug treatment program, which could include outpatient treatment, residential treatment, detoxification services or aftercare services. The intention behind Proposition 36 is to treat drug addiction as a health issue rather than a criminal issue, giving people the help they need to overcome addiction.

Meeting the eligibility requirements

To benefit from Proposition 36, you must meet certain eligibility requirements. First, your conviction must be for a non-violent drug possession offense. This means the offense must involve only the use, possession or transportation of drugs for personal use.

Additionally, the courts cannot have convicted you for a violent or serious felony in the past five years. You also cannot have refused drug treatment as a condition of probation in the past. Finally, the court must determine that you would benefit from treatment.

Complying with the terms of Proposition 36

If you are eligible and receive a Proposition 36 sentence, it is important that you comply with the terms of the treatment program. Failing to participate or complete the program or committing a non-drug related felony or misdemeanor, could result in the court terminating your Proposition 36 probation and imposing a jail sentence.

If you meet these criteria and successfully complete the program, Proposition 36 can provide a significant opportunity for rehabilitation and recovery.


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