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Assembly Bill 3234: Misdemeanor Diversion

What is Assembly Bill 3234?

Assembly bill 3234 is a bill that was approved by the governor of California on September 30, 2020, which allows a judge to offer diversion on a criminal misdemeanor charge. This is similar to the existing law that expired in 2018. However, this new law allows a judge to consider diversion on misdemeanors charges not eligible under the prior law.

When does Assembly Bill 3234 Become Effective?

Assembly Bill 3234 took effect on January 1, 2021.

What Kind of Diversions Exist on Criminal Matters?

Both informal and formal diversions exist on criminal matters.

What is a Formal Diversion?

In a criminal case, formal diversion occurs when the court provides the defendant the opportunity to complete terms of their probation. Should the defendant successfully complete the terms of the probation, the defendant’s charges are dismissed. However, the defendant may have to plead guilty to the crime they have been accused of.

What is an Informal Diversion?

Alternatively, an informal diversion continues a criminal case for the probationary period without entering any plea. A defendant will be required to fulfill obligations within their probationary period. Should the defendant fulfill their obligations, the case will be dismissed.

What does Assembly Bill 3234 Allow?

Assembly bill 3234 allows a judge to do the following, even if objected to by the prosecuting agency:

  • Offer diversion to the defendant, should their case qualify for a diversion;
  • Allow the case to continue for up to 24 months, should the defendant wish to accept the diversion

What Misdemeanor Charges Qualify for Diversion Under Assembly Bill 3234?

The following types of misdemeanor charges qualify under Assembly Bill 3234:

  • Nonviolent drug violations;
  • Traffic violations

What is Considered a Violent Offense?

Violent offenses include charges such as those for child abuse, domestic violence, domestic abuse, felony assault, assault with a deadly weapon, murder, and arson. Thus, these charges are considered serious and cannot qualify for diversion under the terms of the bill.

What Misdemeanor Charges Do Not Qualify for Diversion Under Assembly Bill 3234?

The following misdemeanor charges do not qualify for diversion under Assembly Bill 3234;

  • Offenses that requires sex registration as per PC 290;
  • Domestic violence as per PC 273.5(a);
  • Sexual battery as per PC 243.4(e)(1);
  • Stalking laws as per PC 646.9

What Other Changes Are Associated with Assembly Bill 3234?

Another change associated with the passing of Assembly Bill 3234 is that now individuals are eligible for the Elderly Parole Program at the age of 50 rather than 60 years old. This would apply after a minimum of 20 years of continuous incarceration rather than 25 years of continuous incarceration.

Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney

If you or someone you know has been charged with a misdemeanor that may qualify for a diversion, contact our Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys at (310) 943-1171 for a free consultation. Our attorneys will evaluate the details of your case and let you know what to expect and how you can proceed.


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