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The CAD Program: No Jail and No Criminal Charges

Posted in Uncategorized on September 15, 2016

California courts have recognized that slapping a guilty verdict and giving out a punishment is not necessarily the most efficient way to try and keep criminals from continuing to break the law. Not everyone will respond to that particular method.

The CAD program, which stands for Community Accountability Diversion, is an alternative to traditional court proceedings. The CAD program is specific for misdemeanor charges as well as felony charges regarding narcotics. The Diversion can be done both pre-filing and post-filing but the Diversion must be accepted prior to any trial dates.

CAD’s method is primarily focused on rehabilitating the defendant rather than imposing a strict punishment such as jail or prison. The CAD program looks to educate defendants in various aspects of life and give the participants exposure to the various community resources that can assist them. These are community resources for employment, education, treatment and mental health. Once the individual can show completion of the CAD program, the criminal charges will be dismissed.

Because the CAD program will prevent an individual from going to jail and from having a criminal record, the requirements are strict and often individuals will not be eligible for the program. Some examples that would make one ineligible for the CAD program include: an individual that has been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor within five years of the official complaint, the defendant has other pending cases, as well as if the defendant has failed to appear on previous cases. Further, if the individual has previously been on parole or probation, they will not be eligible for the CAD program. Moreover, there are particular crimes that will prevent an individual from entering the Diversion program. These include but are not limited to: gang related crimes, physical abuse or neglect to minors, domestic violence and charges that involve abuse or neglect to an animal.

In order to stay in the program long enough to get the criminal charges dismissed, CAD does have some strict requirements. In addition to mandatory random drug testing, the individual must contact the diversion program within 48 hours of being referred to the program.

The individual must attend a diversion plan conference prior to entering the program. The program requires a $40 enrollment fee. Once in the program, there will be a customized diversion plan set up that is specific to each participant. The individual diversion plan will contain various conditions that must be met in order to successfully complete the program. Some of the conditions include lots of work throughout the community, individual and group activities.

The CAD program is a total of 6 months beginning immediately upon the day of enrollment. However, upon completion, the actual criminal case will remain open for another 12 months. After a total of 18 months, the criminal case will be dismissed as long as the individual was not arrested in that time.

Every person who is involved in the CAD Diversion program is expected to maintain satisfactory performance and follow their customized plan. If the program staff feels that one is not meeting the standards, the Diversion shall be terminated and sent back to the court for reevaluation. Further, while in the program, if a participant picks up another charge, their Diversion will immediately be terminated.

As with most crimes, there is a deal to be made with the district attorney, and therefore some discretion. As a result, if the Chief Deputy District Attorney that is overseeing misdemeanors approves the CAD Diversion program, the People can stipulate for the eligibility of an individual to participate in the CAD program even for ineligible offenses.