AB 3234: Misdemeanor Diversion Laws of 2021

A new law has already been signed and becomes effective starting January 1, 2021. Currently, every county in Southern California can have their own version of a “Diversion” Program. A diversion program is a type of program where you complete some kind of classes, community service, and a fine, and you can earn a dismissal of your case. This new law creates a Statewide Diversion Program that people can become eligible for and hopefully get. Even if the DA in your case objects to Diversion under AB 3234, a Judge can still grant your motion for Diversion.

You can read the full text for AB 3234 here

How does this work?

Any person who is charged with a misdemeanor offense is eligible for this diversion (except some examples listed below). The Judge would be able to “divert” your case not to exceed 24 months and require you to comply with the terms, conditions, and programs that the Judge deems appropriate based on your specific case. If you complete the terms a Judge asks of you, then the Judge can dismiss your case, and would also make the arrest you received for your case removed as if it never occurred. This last section does not apply to you if you are applying to be a peace officer (you must disclose a sealed arrest there).

You would also be required to make full restitution to the victim in your case, but failing to do so (upon a showing that you are indigent) will not change your ability to have your case diverted. You must also comply with any Court Ordered Protective Orders, Stay Away Orders, or any Firearm Prohibition, if it applies in your case.

If you fail to complete the Program, then a Judge can order the end of the diversion program, and restart your criminal case.

What does this not apply to?

Currently, DUIs are eligible for AB 3234. However, the Governor of California has already indicated that this will be changed at the next possible opportunity. So in other words, you are technically eligible for diversion if you receive a DUI charge, however, based on the fact that this was an oversight that will be changed, and a Judge has to approve your ability to have your case diverted, it would be an uphill battle to get diversion on a DUI under AB 3234.

A felony charge would also not apply to AB 3234.

In addition, there are certain misdemeanors that are not eligible for AB 3234:

  1. Any offense that requires Sex Registration under PC 290;
  2. A violation under PC 273.5;
  3. A violation under PC 243.4(e); and
  4. A violation under PC 646.9

What else does AB 3234 change?

This law also changes a person’s ability to obtain Elderly Parole. As the law currently stands, a person in State Prison, who is 60 years or older, and who has served at least 25 years of continuous incarceration on their sentences, would be eligible for release under the Elderly Parole Program.

Now, a person would be eligible for the Elderly Parole Program at age 50, and it would apply after a minimum of 20 years of continuous incarceration on their sentences.

How can I take advantage of this?

Well first, you need to wait until 2021 until the law goes into place. Next, you would need to consult with a Criminal Defense Attorney that can assist with either approaching a Judge or to file an appropriate motion on your behalf to see if you are able to get Diversion under AB 3234. Remember, it is not a guarantee that just because you are eligible for diversion, that you are going to get it. Since this is a new law, it is unknown how it works in practice thus far. However, it is better to be advised and prepared on how you can possibly earn a complete dismissal of your criminal case by taking advantage of this new law.



AB 3234 is a new law that can help avoid people a criminal conviction on their record. Because this is not a guarantee for every person charged with a crime, it is important to consult with an attorney, to see what can be done to hopefully get your case dismissed.

I can help walk you through this new law, and how it will affect your pending criminal case, give me a call at 909-939-7126.