In Los Angeles County, the Pretrial Services Division of the Los Angeles County Probation Department administers nine separate programs concerned with community safety, incarceration, and the alternative sentencing of particular offenders. Several of these programs include the possibility of early release and/or the dismissal of criminal charges. Some are cooperative programs that involve other county agencies. Others include private contractors who work along with the Pretrial Services staff.
The Pretrial Services Division serves criminal defendants in Los Angeles County throughout the entire criminal justice process, from the time of the initial booking through and even beyond sentencing. If you are arrested and charged with a crime in Los Angeles County, contact an experienced Long Beach criminal defense attorney as quickly as possible. You may be able to take advantage of one of these Pretrial Services programs with the help of a Long Beach criminal defense attorney.
1. DRUG COURT PROGRAM
Non-violent offenders who are facing particular felony drug charges may be eligible for the Drug Court Program. Pretrial Services will check a suspect’s criminal background, interview the suspect, verify the information about the suspect, and determine the suspect’s eligibility for the Drug Court Program. With a judge’s approval, eligible defendants are accepted in a comprehensive, court-supervised, treatment and rehabilitation program.
The Drug Court Program’s judges monitor the progress of defendants, and when a defendant completes the Drug Court Program successfully, the underlying drug charge is dismissed. The program typically takes about one year to complete and includes group and individual counseling sessions, acupuncture for some participants, educational and vocational training programs, and job placement assistance.
2. BAIL DEVIATION PROGRAM
The Bail Deviation Program is available to any adult inmate in Los Angeles County facing an “open” (that is, pending) felony or misdemeanor charge. Pretrial Services will check the inmate’s criminal background, interview the inmate, verify the information about the inmate, and determine the inmate’s eligibility for release.
The information compiled by Pretrial Services helps the on-duty bail commissioner make a determination regarding the inmate’s custody status. The bail commissioner may release the inmate on the inmate’s promise to return for scheduled court appearances or may simply reduce the amount of the inmate’s bail.
3. OWN RECOGNIZANCE PROGRAM
The Pretrial Services Division also provides information regarding bail to all Superior Courts that handle felony cases in Los Angeles County through the Own Recognizance Program. Similar to the Bail Deviation Program, Pretrial Services will check the inmate’s criminal background, interview the inmate, verify the information about the inmate, and determine the inmate’s eligibility for release. The compiled information is then sent to the judge in a written report that evaluates the defendant’s suitability for release on his or her own recognizance – that is, the defendant’s promise to return for scheduled court appearances.
4. EARLY DISPOSITION PROGRAM
The Early Disposition Program lets defendants and courts resolve criminal cases earlier than usual by reducing the number of pretrial hearings and by avoiding a trial. The Pretrial Services Division screens defendants to determine their eligibility for the early disposition of their cases. Information about a particular defendant’s criminal background is forwarded to Deputy Probation Officers, who then prepare case reports for the court’s consideration of early disposition.
5. ELECTRONIC MONITORING PROGRAM
For some criminal sentences, the Electronic Monitoring Program is available to the courts as an alternative to incarceration. Eligible, post-sentenced adult inmates are screened for their eligibility for participation. Defendants can be referred for the Electronic Monitoring Program in misdemeanor or felony cases either before a conviction as a pretrial release or after a conviction as a sentencing option.
Pretrial Services will check the defendant’s or inmate’s criminal background, interview the defendant or inmate, verify the information about the defendant or inmate, and determine the defendant’s or inmate’s eligibility for the Electronic Monitoring Program. When electronic monitoring is ordered for a defendant or an inmate, special terms and conditions of release such as alcohol testing, random drug testing, counseling, community service, and/or substance abuse treatment may be imposed by the court during the period of electronic monitoring.
6. STATIC 99 PROGRAM
“Static 99” is a ten-item assessment tool for use with adult male sexual offenders who are at least 18 years old at the time of their release to the community. The Static 99 Program is designed to measure the risk of releasing adult males who have already been charged with or convicted of at least one sexual offense against a child or a non-consenting adult. For the court’s consideration, the Pretrial Services Division prepares a Static 99 risk assessment of adult male sex offenders.
7. JUVENILE SEALING PROGRAM
A former ward of the court – that is, someone who had the court making legal decisions on his or her behalf before that person turned 18 years old – may petition the court to have his or her juvenile records sealed. The decision about sealing juvenile records must be made by the court in the county in which wardship was terminated. To be eligible for sealing records, a former ward of the court must meet be either 18 years old, or else five years must have elapsed since the individual’s last arrest or discharge from probation. The individual must have no adult felony or serious misdemeanor convictions and must also demonstrate that he or she is rehabilitated.
8. DNA / PROP 69 PROGRAM
Under California Proposition 69, Pretrial Services collects palm print impressions and DNA samples from all adult probationers who have been convicted of felonies or convicted of qualifying misdemeanors. Pretrial Services also collects palm print impressions and DNA samples from all juvenile probationers who have been refereed for a sustained petition of a felony or a qualifying misdemeanor. Scan machines at the several collection sites ensure compliance with Proposition 69’s palm print impression-capturing requirement.
9. CIVIL COURT NAME CHANGE PETITIONS PROGRAM
Since 1997, the state of California has required pre-screening for all persons who are seeking a civil name change. Name-change applicants who are on active parole and those who are registered sex offenders must be identified because those individuals may not legally change their names.
The Superior Court of Los Angeles County has requested Pretrial Services to conduct this screening process. Pretrial Services reviews and screens name-change applicants, checks their criminal backgrounds, and reports information (if any) regarding an applicant’s criminal background to the referring court.