What Are The Updates To The DUI Diversion Program In Marin County?
As of late December of 2021, we do actually have an update regarding the DUI Diversion Program in Marin County.
Recently, the Marin County Courts announced that there would be changes to procedures and Diversion Motions (or “DUI diversions”) under 1001.95 in Marin County.
Since Marin County started hearing and granting these Motions in 2021, we mainly had one Judge in charge of granting Motions for the entire program. Moreover, he was only allowed to take 10 of these cases a week, and they all had to be heard on Thursday afternoons at 2:30 PM.
Mostly, these sessions were held over Zoom. During the sessions, the defense attorney and/or the DA in each case would make their pitches and arguments for the Judge, and sometimes answer judicial questions. Then the Judge would rule on the Motion.
This is the way that the Diversion Motions were being put into place throughout 2021. However, since the Judge was only permitted to take ten of these cases per week, there was an extremely long backlog of cases set out for close to the end of 2022. That is a long time to have to wait for a Motion, and the Court needed to do something about it.
Around two weeks ago, they told us what they intend to do. They instructed attorneys to stop filing Diversion Motions until 2022, when a new system will be put into place. The new system will assign Diversion Motions to one of a number of Judges on a panel—not just one Judge. The assigned Judge will read the moving paper and the Motion that the attorney has put together, and then read the Opposition reply put together by the DA (if the DA chooses to file any Opposition), as well as any reply to that Opposition which the defense or moving party of the Motion brings. Then the Judge will make a Decision on paper.
There will not be oral arguments or discussions as we had previously been doing for each Motion. The whole point of this change is to try and get these Motions heard quicker.
We are hoping that this means that Judges will still be as open to granting these Motions. We will see that each Judge gets to use his discretion, which is technically the whole point of Penal Code Section 1001.95: allowing a Judge to use their discretion over a Prosecutor’s Objection as to whether or not to grant the Diversion Motion.
We will know a lot more about what these changes mean in the next couple of months, as this new system starts to operate in earnest. Our hope is that if a Judge does decide to deny a Diversion Motion, we will still have the opportunity to put forth an oral argument and make sure that everything is properly looked at and discussed, and that we can really advocate for our clients.
It is therefore still critical—and, in fact, perhaps more critical than ever—that you have an experienced DUI lawyer representing you on your DUI in Marin County and in any other county in the Bay Area. In particular, it is essential to have an attorney who really understands how these Motions are working in Marin, and what needs to be done to be as successful as possible with them.
Typically, improving your odds in a Marin County DUI case means getting a lot of self-help from Day 1. That’s really what the Court wants to see: your amenability to treatment.
For more information on Updates To DUI Diversion Program In Marin County, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (415) 886-6333 today.