I can honestly say it is the most rewarding part of my job. I also know that my family and friends are safer than before.
The CDLA’s president lobbied before the Senate Public Safety Committee to help defeat an Assembly Bill that would have denied eligibility for Judicial Diversion for DUI offenses. San Diego DUI attorney and CDLA 2021 President Joshua J. Price helped to defeat the bill before it could go up for a vote in the State Senate. Mr. Price was the main opposition witness to testify against the bill before the Senate Public Safety Committee.
Mr. Price’s testimony was taken on July 13, 2021. Sentencing for misdemeanor DUI offenses should not be severely long jail terms when judicial diversion programs have demonstrated far better outcomes. Penal Code Section 1001.95 that went into effect earlier this year authorized Judicial Diversion for most misdemeanor cases, including DUI offenses. Diversion lasts up to two years. During that time, the person takes classes, attends impact panels, counseling, rehab, self-help-meetings, and so on. If the program is completed successfully, the case will be dismissed after the conclusion.
Assembly Bill 282 (AB282) intended to exclude misdemeanor DUIs from diversion programs. Had it passed, judges would have been forbidden from ever offering diversion to those who could have benefited from it. Mr. Price convincingly argued that eliminating the program would have taken our society backward. Fortunately, good sense prevailed, and the bill has been rejected.
It was an incredible experience to be a part of the legislative process and to help defeat an extremely prejudicial bill.
The Diversion program can motivate first-time offenders to turn their lives around. Citing experience, Mr. Price said that those who had been granted Diversion never appear again in Court.
If approximately 27% of DUI offenders re-offend, that is close to 27,000 people. With Diversion, we can get that number close to ZERO.
Defending Rights Law Center has successfully applied for close to 30 diversion programs over the last 6 + years Each one has delivered amazing and heartening results.
Diversion is a way to hold people accountable, get them the treatment they need and make the world a safer place. Why not give people with no prior DUI convictions something to work towards? People who face losing their careers (Doctors, Nurses), children (custody battles), and deportation (DACA).