Diversion, Delayed Entry of Plea & Deferred Entry Judgment
Diversion instead should be thought of as being diverted onto a different route, like a detour, rather than the normal path heading to trial. In this regard, diversion usually takes the form of either delayed entry of judgment or delayed entry of plea. Such programs are informal and increasingly rarer and rarer for judges to allow. Both programs are good because they result in dismissals, which suggest to anyone looking at the criminal record that the charges lacked merit and the defendant was innocent.In a Nutshell: There is a difference between delayed entry of plea and delayed entry of judgment, although both are loosely called diversion. To understand the distinction between these two forms of diversion, read the article below.
Deferred entry of judgment involves a defendant entering a plea of "No Contest" to one or more of the allegations. However, with an agreement between yourself, the prosecutor and the judge to handle the case via a deferred entry of judgment, the judgment is not entered. It is deferred, or delayed. No judgment is entered, which is significant because no conviction is entered in the record against the defendant.
Normally, when one enters a "No Contest" plea, a judgment and a conviction is automatically entered immediately thereafter. With a deferred entry of judgment, defendant is instead allowed to hit the proverbial “pause” button and given time to do a drug treatment program, a bunch of community service, community labor or Cal-Trans, complete an animal cruelty course, do a shoplifting prevention course, attend some anger management classes, complete a prostitution diversion program (PDP), attend a sex compulsion course, perhaps attend some Alcoholic Anonymous (AA) meetings or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings, stay away from a certain location, pay restitution or just stay out of trouble. If these things are done in or for a specified period of time, one can return to court and have the plea withdrawn and the case dismissed. This is great.
However, if one fails to complete the program, do the community service, etc., judgment is then entered and there is a conviction. After all, defendant already entered a plea of "no contest" or "guilty."
As with delayed entry of judgment, in delayed entry of plea, the defendant is given several months or up to a year to attend classes, perform some community service, perhaps stay away from a location, etc., and if this is performed or completed, the case is dismissed.