April 2013 Archives

Orange County CWP Program Lets You Perform Work in Lieu Of Jail Time Pursuant To P.C. 4024.2

April 15, 2013,

The Orange County Sheriff's Department in cooperation with the Superior Courts has created a unique work release program for offenders, that are eligible, to work for the Sheriff in lieu of doing jail time. The Community Work Program (CWP) was designed to free up some much needed jail beds, save tax-payer dollars and help maintain county facilities. It is similar to Cal Trans, except the work is performed at county facilities like local beaches, parks and the O.C. jails.

Under Penal Code section 4024.2 Sheriff's departments can release inmates who fit a certain criteria (established by the Sheriff) to perform work for the county in-lieu of their jail sentence.

One ten hour day is equivalent to twenty-four hours in custody

CWP allows an inmate to go home at night and be with their family and loved ones. This is a great benefit to the inmate and the inmate's family. CWP is on a voluntary basis. However, the inmate needs to know that CWP is also a privilege and he or she is still an inmate and is subject to certain rules and regulations while they are participating on CWP.

Eligibility for CWP would depend on, but not be limited to, the following:

• Sentenced to county jail time
• Sentenced to 150 days or less
• Must not have any active warrants or holds
• Be physically fit to perform manual labor
• Permanent Orange County resident
• Viable mode of transportation
• Pay an Administrative Fee
• Cannot be in custody on violent related charges or sex related charges

CWP benefits everyone involved. This program is very important to the Sheriff, the County of Orange, the tax-paying Citizens, and the inmates and their families. If you are facing jail time and would like to see if you are eligible for the Community Work Program, contact The Law Office of Lauren K. Johnson for a free confidential consultation and let us evaluate your situation.

What is California's Deferred Entry of Judgment?

April 10, 2013,

In California, there are certain types of criminal offenses, if you are eligible, which will allow you to avoid getting any conviction at all. It is known as Deferred Entry of Judgment (sometimes referred to as DEJ). For adults, DEJ is used primarily for certain drug offenses. However, more recently the Orange County District Attorney's office has been allowing the use of DEJ in settling other relatively minor (non-violent) criminal offenses, such as Petty Theft and Driving on a Suspended or Revoked License. With DEJ, the defendant pleads guilty, but the court does not enter the judgment, so the conviction is never finalized. The court will impose specified sanctions (such as mandatory attendance at offender rehabilitation programs, fines and/or penalties) to be completed within a certain period of time. In exchange, if all requirements are satisfactorily performed and no new offenses have caused the court to revoke DEJ, the case will be dismissed, without any conviction ever having been entered.

However, unlike with diversion, with DEJ you have already pled guilty, so if you fail to successfully complete the program, you cannot then plead not guilty and go to trial. For this reason, it's important that you and your attorney discuss all possibilities and decide on a strategy that will bring you the outcome most likely to work for you.

Thereafter, the defendant may lawfully indicate in response to questions concerning his or her prior criminal record that he or she was not convicted of a criminal offense The only exception to this is on subsequent peace officer applications, in which case the defendant may not omit reference to the arrest and judgment.

Below are some of the Eligibility and Qualifications for Deferred Entry of Judgment. This list is not exhaustive and does not guarantee that your individual case is eligible for DEJ.

1. You must have no prior convictions involving controlled substances (just for prior drug charges).
2. The offense you are charged with cannot involve a crime of violence.
3. There must be no evidence that you committed any drug offense, such as sale or possession for sale, other than one of the listed offenses (just for prior drug charges).
4. You cannot have ever in the past failed to successfully complete probation or parole.
5. You cannot have previously done DEJ within the last five years.
6. You cannot have any prior felony convictions within the last five years.

If you are facing possible criminal charges or have already been charged and would like to see if your case is eligible for Deferred Entry of Judgment, contact our offices for a free consultation of your case.


April 1, 2013,

There are two different types of Warrants issued through the Criminal Justice System. Law enforcement will generally issue an Arrest Warrant, which is a written order commanding (authorizing) a law enforcement agency to arrest and/or detain an individual, or allows the search and seizure of one's property. A Bench Warrant is an order by the court "from the bench" issued by a Judge to arrest a person and bring them before the court.

A person may have a warrant out for his or her arrest for a number of reasons such as a complaint being filed against the person by a prosecuting agency, a failure to appear in court when ordered to, a probation violation, a failure to obey court order(s), and others.

Most warrants are issued for Failures to Appear (FTA) in court and Probation Violations. Many individuals that have been convicted of a criminal offense and then fail to complete the terms of their sentence (probation) can have a warrant issued against them. Also, we see individuals that were cited for a crime (yes, even a traffic infraction) that fail to appear on their scheduled court date for a myriad of reasons, such as fear of what will happen in court, they forget the date or lose their citation or they are simply trying to avoid dealing with the offense.

If you have failed to meet any of the terms of your probation, one thing that our office may be able to assist you with is a Sentence Modification, if applicable in your particular case, once the Warrant has been recalled. If your case is a misdemeanor, you may not need to be present when your warrant is recalled. If your case is a felony, you will almost always need to be present when your warrant is recalled.

Once a warrant is issued by the court, it is reported to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Many clients contact us after they have attempted to renew their driver's license, registration or other dealings with the DMV, only to be informed that they have a warrant issued for their arrest. In the state of California, driving is a "privilege" and not a" right", so if you violate a law, that privilege can be suspended. The longer you wait to resolve an outstanding warrant, the more complicated the process to recall it can be, especially if you are out of state or convicted of a felony. We may able to keep you from going to jail by appearing with you, as often times a judge will order a defendant with a felony warrant to be remanded to jail immediately.

You can hire the Law Office of Lauren K. Johnson to represent you and recall your warrant. By recalling your warrant, the Law Office of Lauren K. Johnson is asking the court to cancel the order for your arrest. Then we can proceed in resolving your underlying case with the most favorable outcome possible. Contact our office for a free confidential consultation.