216.05 Judicial diversion program; court procedures.
1. At any time after the arraignment of an eligible defendant, but prior to the entry of a plea of guilty or the commencement of trial, the court at the request of the eligible defendant, may order an alcohol and substance abuse evaluation. An eligible defendant may decline to participate in such an evaluation at any time. The defendant shall provide a written authorization, in compliance with the requirements of any applicable state or federal laws, rules or regulations authorizing disclosure of the results of the assessment to the defendant's attorney, the prosecutor, the local probation department, the court, authorized court personnel and other individuals specified in such authorization for the sole purpose of determining whether the defendant should be offered judicial diversion for treatment for substance abuse or dependence, alcohol abuse or dependence and any co-occurring mental disorder or mental illness.
2. Upon receipt of the completed alcohol and substance abuse evaluation report, the court shall provide a copy of the report to the eligible defendant and the prosecutor.
3. (a) Upon receipt of the evaluation report either party may request a hearing on the issue of whether the eligible defendant should be offered alcohol or substance abuse treatment pursuant to this article. At such a proceeding, which shall be held as soon as practicable so as to facilitate early intervention in the event that the defendant is found to need alcohol or substance abuse treatment, the court may consider oral and written arguments, may take testimony from witnesses offered by either party, and may consider any relevant evidence including, but not limited to, evidence that:
(i) the defendant had within the preceding ten years (excluding any time during which the offender was incarcerated for any reason between the time of the acts that led to the youthful offender adjudication and the time of commission of the present offense) been adjudicated a youthful offender for: (A) a violent felony offense as defined in section 70.02 of the penal law; or (B) any offense for which a merit time allowance is not available pursuant to subparagraph (ii) of paragraph (d) of subdivision one of section eight hundred three of the correction law; and
(ii) in the case of a felony offense defined in subdivision four of section 410.91 of this chapter, any statement of or submitted by the victim, as defined in paragraph (a) of subdivision two of section 380.50 of this chapter.
(b) Upon completion of such a proceeding, the court shall consider and make findings of fact with respect to whether:
(i) the defendant is an eligible defendant as defined in subdivision one of section 216.00 of this article;
(ii) the defendant has a history of alcohol or substance abuse or dependence;
(iii) such alcohol or substance abuse or dependence is a contributing factor to the defendant's criminal behavior;
(iv) the defendant's participation in judicial diversion could effectively address such abuse or dependence; and
(v) institutional confinement of the defendant is or may not be necessary for the protection of the public.
4. When an authorized court determines, pursuant to paragraph (b) of subdivision three of this section, that an eligible defendant should be offered alcohol or substance abuse treatment, or when the parties and the court agree to an eligible defendant's participation in alcohol or substance abuse treatment, an eligible defendant may be allowed to participate in the judicial diversion program offered by this article. Prior to the court's issuing an order granting judicial diversion, the eligible defendant shall be required to enter a plea of guilty to the charge or charges; provided, however, that no such guilty plea shall be required when:
(a) the people and the court consent to the entry of such an order without a plea of guilty; or
(b) based on a finding of exceptional circumstances, the court determines that a plea of guilty shall not be required. For purposes of this subdivision, exceptional circumstances exist when, regardless of the ultimate disposition of the case, the entry of a plea of guilty is likely to result in severe collateral consequences.
5. The defendant shall agree on the record or in writing to abide by the release conditions set by the court, which, shall include: participation in a specified period of alcohol or substance abuse treatment at a specified program or programs identified by the court, which may include periods of detoxification, residential or outpatient treatment, or both, as determined after taking into account the views of the health care professional who conducted the alcohol and substance abuse evaluation and any health care professionals responsible for providing such treatment or monitoring the defendant's progress in such treatment; and may include: (i) periodic court appearances, which may include periodic urinalysis; (ii) a requirement that the defendant refrain from engaging in criminal behaviors; (iii) if the defendant needs treatment for opioid abuse or dependence, that he or she may participate in and receive medically prescribed drug treatments under the care of a health care professional licensed or certified under title eight of the education law, acting within his or her lawful scope of practice.
6. Upon an eligible defendant's agreement to abide by the conditions set by the court, the court shall issue a securing order providing for bail or release on the defendant's own recognizance and conditioning any release upon the agreed upon conditions. The period of alcohol or substance abuse treatment shall begin as specified by the court and as soon as practicable after the defendant's release, taking into account the availability of treatment, so as to facilitate early intervention with respect to the defendant's abuse or condition and the effectiveness of the treatment program. In the event that a treatment program is not immediately available or becomes unavailable during the course of the defendant's participation in the judicial diversion program, the court may release the defendant pursuant to the securing order.
7. When participating in judicial diversion treatment pursuant to this article, any resident of this state who is covered under a private health insurance policy or contract issued for delivery in this state pursuant to article thirty-two, forty-three or forty-seven of the insurance law or article forty-four of the public health law, or who is covered by a self-funded plan which provides coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of chemical abuse and chemical dependence however defined in such policy; shall first seek reimbursement for such treatment in accordance with the provisions of such policy or contract.
8. During the period of a defendant's participation in the judicial diversion program, the court shall retain jurisdiction of the defendant, provided, however, that the court may allow such defendant to reside in another jurisdiction while participating in a judicial diversion program under conditions set by the court and agreed to by the defendant pursuant to subdivisions five and six of this section. The court may require the defendant to appear in court at any time to enable the court to monitor the defendant's progress in alcohol or substance abuse treatment. The court shall provide notice, reasonable under the circumstances, to the people, the treatment provider, the defendant and the defendant's counsel whenever it orders or otherwise requires the appearance of the defendant in court. Failure to appear as required without reasonable cause therefor shall constitute a violation of the conditions of the court's agreement with the defendant.
9. (a) If at any time during the defendant's participation in the judicial diversion program, the court has reasonable grounds to believe that the defendant has violated a release condition or has failed to appear before the court as requested, the court shall direct the defendant to appear or issue a bench warrant to a police officer or an appropriate peace officer directing him or her to take the defendant into custody and bring the defendant before the court without unnecessary delay; provided, however, that under no circumstances shall a defendant who requires treatment for opioid abuse or dependence be deemed to have violated a release condition on the basis of his or her participation in medically prescribed drug treatments under the care of a health care professional licensed or certified under title eight of the education law, acting within his or her lawful scope of practice. The provisions of subdivision one of section 530.60 of this chapter relating to revocation of recognizance or bail shall apply to such proceedings under this subdivision.
(b) In determining whether a defendant violated a condition of his or her release under the judicial diversion program, the court may conduct a summary hearing consistent with due process and sufficient to satisfy the court that the defendant has, in fact, violated the condition.
(c) If the court determines that the defendant has violated a condition of his or her release under the judicial diversion program, the court may modify the conditions thereof, reconsider the order of recognizance or bail pursuant to subdivision two of section 510.30 of this chapter, or terminate the defendant's participation in the judicial diversion program; and when applicable proceed with the defendant's sentencing in accordance with the agreement. Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, the court may impose any sentence authorized for the crime of conviction in accordance with the plea agreement, or any lesser sentence authorized to be imposed on a felony drug offender pursuant to paragraph (b) or (c) of subdivision two of section 70.70 of the penal law taking into account the length of time the defendant spent in residential treatment and how best to continue treatment while the defendant is serving that sentence. In determining what action to take for a violation of a release condition, the court shall consider all relevant circumstances, including the views of the prosecutor, the defense and the alcohol or substance abuse treatment provider, and the extent to which persons who ultimately successfully complete a drug treatment regimen sometimes relapse by not abstaining from alcohol or substance abuse or by failing to comply fully with all requirements imposed by a treatment program. The court shall also consider using a system of graduated and appropriate responses or sanctions designed to address such inappropriate behaviors, protect public safety and facilitate, where possible, successful completion of the alcohol or substance abuse treatment program.
(d) Nothing in this subdivision shall be construed as preventing a court from terminating a defendant's participation in the judicial diversion program for violating a release condition when such a termination is necessary to preserve public safety. Nor shall anything in this subdivision be construed as precluding the prosecution of a defendant for the commission of a different offense while participating in the judicial diversion program.
(e) A defendant may at any time advise the court that he or she wishes to terminate participation in the judicial diversion program, at which time the court shall proceed with the case and, where applicable, shall impose sentence in accordance with the plea agreement. Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, the court may impose any sentence authorized for the crime of conviction in accordance with the plea agreement, or any lesser sentence authorized to be imposed on a felony drug offender pursuant to paragraph (b) or (c) of subdivision two of section 70.70 of the penal law taking into account the length of time the defendant spent in residential treatment and how best to continue treatment while the defendant is serving that sentence.
10. Upon the court's determination that the defendant has successfully completed the required period of alcohol or substance abuse treatment and has otherwise satisfied the conditions required for successful completion of the judicial diversion program, the court shall comply with the terms and conditions it set for final disposition when it accepted the defendant's agreement to participate in the judicial diversion program. Such disposition may include, but is not limited to: (a) requiring the defendant to undergo a period of interim probation supervision and, upon the defendant's successful completion of the interim probation supervision term, notwithstanding the provision of any other law, permitting the defendant to withdraw his or her guilty plea and dismissing the indictment; or (b) requiring the defendant to undergo a period of interim probation supervision and, upon successful completion of the interim probation supervision term, notwithstanding the provision of any other law, permitting the defendant to withdraw his or her guilty plea, enter a guilty plea to a misdemeanor offense and sentencing the defendant as promised in the plea agreement, which may include a period of probation supervision pursuant to section 65.00 of the penal law; or (c) allowing the defendant to withdraw his or her guilty plea and dismissing the indictment.
11. Nothing in this article shall be construed as restricting or prohibiting courts or district attorneys from using other lawful procedures or models for placing appropriate persons into alcohol or substance abuse treatment.
Last modified: September 11, 2016