Sonora, CA – District Attorney Cassandra Jenecke announced today that beginning August 1, 2022, the Tuolumne County District Attorney’s Office will implement a pre-filing Misdemeanor Diversion Program (MDP). This program is designed to reduce recidivism by providing first-time, low-level, non-recidivist, and non-violent offenders the opportunity to engage in evidence-based rehabilitative programs and to divert the impact a criminal conviction can have on their lives.
After a competitive Request for Proposal process, the District Attorney’s Office selected Advent eLearning’s Online Pretrial Diversion Program, which will provide over thirty evidence-based courses to fulfill our pre-filing diversion requirements. Advent eLearning has been providing pre-trial diversion programming for over 15 years. Advent’s cognitive-based material helps individuals get on track and puts their legal issues in the past. Their courses are professionally created and accepted by courts and agencies across the country. Most of the courses are either 4 or 8 hours long and can be browser-translated so students can complete material in the language they choose.
To be eligible, both the offender and the offense(s) must qualify. Our program is designed to address and divert first-time, low-level, non-recidivist, and non-violent offenders whose referred criminal conduct represents an aberration from their normal and historical behavior. In general, participants will have three months to complete their diversionary programming. Those eligible offenders who successfully complete the assigned Advent course and any related terms like community service or 12-step meetings, pays any related program fees, and pays any victim restitution owed, will have their case permanently diverted and it will never be filed.
The following individuals are disqualified from the program:
- Individuals with non-traffic convictions within the last 15 years;
- Individuals with traffic convictions within the last 7 years; except individuals with VC12500 convictions within seven years and whose referred charge is a VC12500;
- Individuals with law enforcement contacts or failures to appear in court within the last 5 years;
- Individuals required to register pursuant to Penal Code section 290 at the time the referred case was committed;
- Individuals currently participating in a court or DA diversion program; and
- Individuals with open cases with similar or related conduct.
The following crimes are disqualified from the program:
- Driving under the influence offenses;
- Fire or fireworks related offenses;
- PC290 registerable offenses;
- Hit and run offenses;
- Resisting or battery upon a police officer offenses;
- Weapons/firearms brandishing or possession offenses;
- Child abuse, child abduction, or contributing the delinquency of a minor offenses;
- Simple possession of drugs or drug paraphernalia offenses;
- Petty theft offenses where the value of stolen property is over $99;
- Crimes of violence;
- Threats of violence; and
- Domestic violence.
Disqualified offenders and crimes may be considered on a case-by-case basis where diversion would serve the interests of justice and only with the approval of the District Attorney and any victims involved in the case.
District Attorney Cassandra Jenecke stated, “It has been my long-term goal to implement comprehensive diversionary programming in Tuolumne County to make this community a safer place. Our pre-filing, misdemeanor diversion program represents a first step towards that goal. This type of program provides first-time, low-level, non-recidivist, and non-violent offenders an opportunity to avoid the negative impact of a criminal conviction while also giving them the tools to make the right choice in the future. Meaningful participation in evidence-based rehabilitative programming by low-level offenders makes our community safer by helping those who want to help themselves.”