In September of 2014 the Los Angeles City Attorney started a new diversion type program called the Neighborhood Justice Program. Once a Defendant is arrested or cited for an offense he may be eligible for a program where the case never actually goes to court. This program only applies to certain minor charges such as:
- Petty Theft (Penal Code Section 484-488(a)),
- Disturbing the Peace (Penal Code Section 415),
- Vandalism and Graffiti (Penal Code Section 594),
- Minor in Possession of Alcohol (Business and Professions Code Section 25662,
- Vehicle Code Section 13202.5),
- Possession of False Identification or Possession of False Driver’s License (Penal Code Section 148.9, Penal Code Section 470b) and
- Public Intoxication (Penal Code Section 647(f)).
Generally eligible persons should not have a previous record but that may be negotiable.
Other minor crimes not listed may also be covered by this new program and a skilled lawyer may be able to persuade the Los Angeles City Attorney to make other violations of law eligible. Notably, the program is only open to Defendants who commit crimes in the City of Los Angeles as other cities in Los Angeles County do not yet have any such program. Similarly, cases prosecuted through the Los Angeles County District Attorney do not have any such program.
Once an individual is deemed eligible for the program they will go before a three person board and explain themselves to the panel. If the panel is satisfied the person has taken responsibility for the crime and shown remorse the panel will then allow the person to pay back the community for the commission of the crime by completing a “restorative agreement” with the understanding that the City Attorney will then not file the criminal case. This usually consists of some number of hours of Community Service. The Defendant will have about two (2) months to complete the restorative agreement. This program is far superior to most diversion programs which usually require a guilty plea and a court appearance. The Los Angeles City Attorney program leaves much less of a trace when it comes to background checks since official charges are never filed and the matter never goes to court. Many clients are greatly concerned about the effect of a case on their record, especially when it comes to looking for a job; this new program effectively removes many of those worries.
If you are facing charges on ANY crime in the City of Los Angeles, Los Angeles County or anywhere in Southern California do not hesitate to contact Mr. Bruzzo to check your eligibility for dismissal programs and for representation on any criminal case.