Alternative Prosecution Programs in Los Angeles

April 13, 2018 by Anastasiia Ponomarova in California  Criminal Defense  
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Why Alternative Prosecution Programs?

For alternative prosecution programs, isolation from society is not always necessary and an adequate condition for achieving the objectives of criminal policy and the purposes of punishment. Often, former prisoners experience relapses. The growth of relapse is influenced by the fact that in the conditions of deprivation of liberty there is a destruction of the person’s personality, or at minimum there is a significant deformation.

Alternative punishment and programs are designed to give people a second chance at freedom, without sending them to prison.

Places of deprivation of liberty are the hotbeds of criminal subculture and are used by criminals to replenish their ranks with new persons with a stable anti-social orientation. Isolation from society gives rise to another problem – preventing and neutralizing the psychological and social consequences of serving this punishment. Also, prisons are expensive for society and the state.

What is Alternative Prosecution Programs Sentencing?

Alternative sentencing in California can be implemented pursuant to one of several formal programs set in place by California voters or the California legislature or a plea agreement negotiated by a defendant’s attorney and the judge or prosecutor in a given case.

Some common alternatives include community service, work release programs, graffiti clean-up, as well as drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs.

Who Has a Rights for Alternative Sentencing?

Alternative prosecution programs sentences are not always available to everyone. Depending on your circumstances, you have, or do not have the right to, these alternatives. As a rule, alternative sentences can be applied to the accused if:

  1. The defendant committed a serious, but non-violent criminal offense;
  2. The defendant did not commit numerous or repeated crimes; AND
  3. The defendant does not pose a threat to the public.

What are the Types of Alternative Sentencing?

There are several forms of alternative prosecution programs sentences to incarceration. It’s best to consult with your Criminal Defense Attorney to see if you may qualify for one of the following:

APPS – Alternative Prosecution Program – Pre-Court/Pre-Filing Diversion

APPS is a Diversion Program in Los Angeles outsourced to a private company called American Justice Associates. The program was developed in conjunction with the District Attorney’s Office, which determines suitability of particular offenders, as well as additional requirements, such as restitution, counseling, etc. If you are eligible, the costs are about $355 for materials and monitoring. APPS is only available if requested by the City Attorney. The workbook component can be completed at home, in 4-5 hours. APPS prefers that attendees complete the material over time, and take at least a week to return the finished materials. APPS will monitor the requirements of each participant, and forward results to the City Attorney. APPS is considered as a Pre-Court Diversion. Once a case is filed in Los Angeles Courts, APPS is no longer available.

A common APPS Diversion Program participant “example” is a person who has no prior record, is remorseful, is employed or in school, and has been arrested in Los Angeles for Shoplifting (less $50), Minor in Possession of Alcohol (BP 25662), Minor in Possession of a Fake ID (BP 25661), Lewd Conduct (Lewd Conduct in Public, PC 647(A)) or Hit and Run without Injury (Hit & Run in California, VC 20001-20002). If the case is approved by the City Attorney for Diversion, the City Attorney will contact the prospective applicant and indicate the option of APPS instead of court. It is the responsibility of the applicant to make arrangements to complete all program requirements – extensions are not generally allowed. If a person accepts an APPS offer, he or she will need to process directly with APPS. Once accepted in the program, future court dates will be suspended, pending successful completion.

Home arrest/Electronic Monitoring Program

Home arrest/Electronic monitoring is available to the Superior Court of Los Angeles County as an alternative to custody in accordance with California Penal Code 1203.016. Your mobility is controlled and / or limited by an electronic device, such as an ankle bracelet, which constantly monitors your location. You can attend the necessary places, such as school, work, church and other activities approved by the program administrator. Electronic monitoring can be issued by the court, or you have to apply for it regardless of the court with the help of a lawyer. Special conditions such as drug testing, breath alcohol testing, community service, counseling, and substance treatment may also be issued by the court while a defendant is electronically monitored.

Community Service

You may need to work in city organizations, or perform cleaning duties in and around the city for a specified amount of hours ordered by the judge.

Therapy, Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous meetings

Sometimes the judge will offer the defendant the option to complete a specified number of Narcotics Anonymous or Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. You will be given a piece of paper that you will bring to any of the dozens of meetings on any given day of the week, and get signatures from someone at the meeting (generally the person in charge, called the chairperson, or the group’s secretary) to confirm that you actually attended.

If these meetings are court-ordered, you will have to bring the sheet of paper back to the judge on a specified court date as proof that you completed the meetings.

Drug Court Program

Drug court is available to non-violent defendants arrested for certain felony drug charges. The accused is placed in court-controlled, comprehensive treatment and rehabilitation programs. Drug Court’s judges control the participation of the defendants. Those defendants who successfully complete the program reject the drug case. The program lasts 6-9 months, and includes individual and group counseling, acupuncture, training and employment programs;

Deferred Entry of Judgment (PC-1000), Formal Drug Probation (Proposition 36)

These are types of alternative sentencing that certain drug offenders are automatically entitled to take part in:

PC-1000 is available to defendants who are charged with misdemeanor or felony drug possession and either have never been convicted of a drug related crime before or have successfully completed PC-1000 probation not less than five years prior. In Los Angeles, the PC-1000 assumes 36 months of probation. However, the defendant who pleads guilty to a simple possession charge and is granted PC-1000 probation is ordered to complete a specially assigned PC-1000 drug treatment program that usually lasts about 5 months. If the defendant successfully completes the program and is not charged with any new crimes for a total of 18 months, they will be allowed to come back to court, withdraw their plea of guilty and the court will dismiss the charge. PC-1000 probation is not available to defendants who take their cases to trial. It is only available at the pretrial stage of the case.

Prop. 36 probation is available to drug offenders who are charged with misdemeanor or felony drug possession and do have prior drug convictions on their criminal record. It is considered formal felony probation and is more expensive and more stringent than PC-1000 probation. Typically, when a defendant is granted Prop. 36 probation, they are assigned a probation officer that they must report to on a regular basis. The defendant is evaluated based on the severity of their substance abuse problem and can be ordered to participate in outpatient treatment or residential treatment. If the defendant completes Prop 36 probation, after 3 years the charge can be dismissed in court. Prop. 36 is available to defendants even if they are found guilty in trial.

Outpatient or Residential Alcohol or Drug Rehabilitation

You need to go through a series of drug education programs for a certain period of time. If all the necessary classes and programs are successfully completed, the charges can be dropped, and the conviction can be avoided altogether.

Supervised or Unsupervised Probation

Unsupervised probation is basically a warning from the court: “Don’t get into any new trouble or else!”

Supervised probation is much different. If you’ve been placed on supervised probation, you must check in with a probation officer who will be assigned to you by the North Carolina Community Corrections office (part of the Department of Corrections). There are restrictions on your travel – you are not permitted to travel out-of-state except with prior approval of your probation officer. You may be required to submit to periodic searches. You will be required to be in school or either employed or looking for a job. And you may be required to comply with other court ordered requirements, including restitution, payment of supervised probation fees, getting a high school diploma or GED, performance of community service, substance abuse treatment programs, anger management programs, and so forth.

Violation of any of those conditions may cause revocation of probation.

Behavioral Management Programs

These are basically classes or therapy sessions in which you will learn to control your behavioral impulses that may lead you to committing a crime. This is an excellent alternative for offenses such as Domestic Violence or Kleptomania.

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