On again, off again. There has been much confusion surrounding diversion for misdemeanor DUIs. You may have read my earlier post where I discussed the differing opinions in the county superior courts. If not, a brief recap is as follows:
On January 1, 2021, a new law took effect which allows superior court judges to order diversion for most misdemeanors instead of a conviction. (Penal Code section 1001.95.) If the defendant successfully fulfills the diversion order, the misdemeanor charge is dismissed forever more. As the law Is written there is a handful of misdemeanor offenses that are not eligible for diversion. Driving under the influence is listed among the exceptions.
However, there was a law already on the books, Vehicle Code section 23640, that stated a DUI charge cannot be suspended or stayed by the superior court in order to allow the defendant to participate in a rehabilitation program, nor can the court dismiss the charge upon the offender’s successful completion of such a program. This appeared to be a conflict with the new misdemeanor diversion law, at least for those charged with DUI.