Deferred Entry of Judgment vs. Proposition 36

Drug offense Deferred Entry of Judgment (DEJ) is enacted by Penal Code section 1000. If you meet the five eligibility criteria and if you are deemed a suitable candidate, you can enter a plea of “guilty”, postpone your sentencing, complete a drug treatment program and you can earn a dismissal as soon as 18 months later. Upon completion the program and after 18 months, no sentence is imposed, the case is dismissed and the state of California considers the matter a non-conviction.

Proposition 36 is a voter enacted statute that allows for certain drug offenders to serve non-custodial probationary sentences that includes a drug treatment program and will result in dismissal upon successful completion as early as 12 months after the plea. The con of Prop 36 is that it is an active conviction until you successfully complete the program and receive the dismissal because you plead "guilty" and you are then sentenced to Prop 36 terms. The benefit of the program is no initial jail time and up three revocations of probation with no jail time (for drug related conduct).

Both DEJ and Prop 36 result in relatively equivalent dismissals upon successful completion, however, DEJ does not equate to a conviction in California, but Prop 36 does (until it is successfully completed). Generally, it is considered better to accept DEJ first, if you fail to complete it successfully, then accept sentencing per Prop 36.