road to recovery

Do I Qualify for Alternatives to Incarceration in Contra Costa?

Contra Costa DA to Prioritize Rehabilitation Over Punishment

Have you been arrested or cited for the offenses blew? If so, hope is on the way.

  • Shoplifting
  • Petty theft
  • Possession of burglary tools
  • Disturbing the peace
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Trespassing
  • Low-level drug crimes
  • Other non-violent misdemeanor infractions

The Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office will transition into a new policy for filing misdemeanor charges in the hopes of reducing the significant backlog of low-level, non-violent misdemeanors in the court system. Arrests for minor drug possession offenses and other low-level offenses remain high, and frankly, courts are overwhelmed with the backlog of cases. Court closures due to COVID-19 haven’t helped, either.

By diverting low-level recreational cannabis users, drug addicts, and other minor offenders out of the criminal justice system, the county can allocate its resources to providing them community-based behavioral health services rather than punishment.

Not to mention, this formalized policy of misdemeanor filing considerations will allow prosecutors and police officers to focus on criminal street gangs, drug dealers, violent criminals, and firearms cases. As a result, court backlogs could shrink, allowing judges to focus on more serious cases.

Although this policy would prevent cases from being filed against low-level offenders or those facing a standalone charge, it wouldn’t apply to people who:

  • are on probation;
  • have been arrested three times; or
  • got arrested for theft valued at more than $300.

Many California district attorneys support this new consideration, as it opposes the initiatives of Proposition 20, which is believed to increase incarceration rates and expenses while cutting investments in much-needed services for survivors. Thus, once the Contra Costa DA’s office solidifies its considerations for filing misdemeanor charges, arrest rates could significantly drop.

In fact, they already have. 1,762 of the 3,977 misdemeanor drug cases were dismissed in 2018, while 1,872 of the 3,187 drug cases filed were immediately dropped in 2019. The impact is expected to continue into 2021.

However, police officers may still arrest you for a low-level misdemeanor offense despite these efforts, which is why you shouldn’t back down. Hope is truly on the way ― it’s just a matter of time.

As a former prosecutor for both the Alameda County and Santa Clara County DA’s offices, attorney Christopher Lamiero is your trusted resource and advocate if your facing charges. He knows how both sides of the justice system work and can leverage his key insights, tools, and network to work in your favor. Ultimately, he strives to get your charges reduced or dropped altogether and, instead, get you the rehabilitation and other help you may need to get back on track.

Let us help you receive help instead of punishment. To discuss your case with us, contact the firm at (925) 259-3337!

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