Proposition 36 Alternative Drug Treatment Program
California Penal Code § 1210
California law mandates drug treatment instead of incarceration for the possession and for transportation of marijuana and other drugs for personal use. The defendant is eligible for a drug treatment program even after conviction, unlike Deferred Entry of Judgment which must be taken before trial. The program can require numerous meetings, counseling and the commitment to stop all drug use. If satisfactory completed, the conviction can be dismissed under Penal Code § 1203.4.
The program ranges from 6 to 12 months after-treatment. Defendants can expect to be drug tested in Prop. 36 programs. Probation may be revoked if the defendant fails to complete the drug treatment program or if he/she commits a violent offense. Defendants are allowed probation violations such as two failed drug tests or poor attendance, prior to being exposed to jail. The conviction will be set aside upon successful completion of the program, but the record will still remain.
Prior convictions for drug offenses such as possession for sales will not disqualify a defendant from protections under Proposition 36 unless the conviction is for a serious or violent felony committed within the past five years, e.g., a strike conviction as listed in CA Penal Code §667.5 or §1192.7. Note from Bruce: Medical marijuana patients are eligible for Prop. 36 treatment; see People v. Beaty (2010) 181 Cal. App. 4th 644.