How to Avoid a Marijuana Possession Conviction for 18-21 Years of Age
11357(b) H&S (And Save Your Driver’s License While Doing So)
Note from Bruce: Under California law, anyone younger than 21 years old who is convicted of a marijuana offense will lose his/her driver’s license for one year, even if the offense is not driving related; this is subject to the discretion of the Judge.
- DEFERRED ENTRY OF JUDGMENT (DEJ) will prevent the loss of your license because the conviction is deferred (held until the conditions are met), and then later dismissed in 18-36 months. Refer to page 10 to learn more about DEJ. Non-citizens (even with Green Cards) will not be protected from being deported by diversion for possession of marijuana of over 30 grams. INS does not honor diversion.
- INFORMAL DIVERSION: Some prosecutors or courts will agree to dismiss the case if the defendant agrees to participate in conditions like 5-15 Narcotics Anonymous meetings or community service.
- ILLEGALLY SEIZED EVIDENCE: Refer to the previous “Search and Seizure” section of the guide. Illegally obtained evidence must be suppressed and cannot be used against the defendant in court. Then there would be no conviction or loss of license.
- PLEA BARGAIN: Prosecutors may agree to dismiss the marijuana offense in exchange for a plea to other charges such as “Disturbing the Peace” [PC §415], or “Trespassing” [PC §602]. Then there will be no loss of license. In addition, try to get an infraction instead of a misdemeanor count.
- TRIAL BY JUDGE: the defendant has the right to a trial by judge (if the D.A. doesn’t object ) in which he/she does not have to plead guilty or no contest (nolo contendere is the same as pleading guilty or no contest).