Is A DUI Diversion Available In San Mateo County?
As of May 2021 in San Mateo County (which is just south of San Francisco), the misdemeanor courts, judges, and commissioners have not been granting diversions for DUI cases under Penal Code Section 1001.95. In Alameda, Sonoma, San Francisco and Marin Counties, judges have been granting diversion for misdemeanor DUI charges. The hope is that the same will become true in San Mateo County.
We have been told that the judges are trying to come up with a countywide plan for dealing with motions brought for these cases. I don’t think this is the correct way to approach the issue because I believe that the law says it’s up to the individual judge to decide how to rule. Regardless, in San Mateo County, DUIs are not considered eligible for diversion. The claim is that under Vehicle Code Section 23640, DUIs cannot be granted diversion. However, new law signed by Governor Gavin Newsom has come out of Sacramento, which essentially states that DUIs are eligible for diversion, and definitely not excluded by this new law.
In San Mateo County, it’s not even about the suitability on a case-by-case basis, which is what the legislature was looking for the courts to evaluate in granting diversion for DUI cases. Instead, the sentiment is that DUIs simply are not eligible for diversion. San Mateo is a very conservative county, and the same can be said about Santa Clara, Contra Costa, Napa, and Solano County, none of which have granted any diversion motions that we have heard of under Code Section 1001.95 for DUI Cases.
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