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RISE Program in San Bernardino

The Rehabilitation, Intervention, Support and Education program, commonly known as RISE, is a diversion program offered in San Bernardino County criminal courts whereby some criminal defendants may qualify to have his or her record of a criminal conviction avoided (diverted) if he or she complies with certain probation-like conditions.

Note: Diversion is common in some lower level criminal cases in every California county. To divert a case means to turn the case away from its current course of criminal prosecution. For example, if John if arrested for the crime of misdemeanor prostitution, and the district attorney decides to prosecute John, then John may be offered a diversion program in lieu of prosecution. This would require John to pay a fine, complete some classes, and stay out of trouble for a specified period of time. If John complies with these diversion conditions then John will have his criminal charges dismissed. On the other hand, if John does not comply with the diversion conditions then criminal prosecution will resume.

RISE Eligibility: RISE is a diversion program that applies to certain crimes. These crimes include lower level misdemeanor crimes like vandalism under $400, prostitution, petty theft, shoplifting, trespassing, looting under $950, etc. Some misdemeanor crimes are not eligible for the RISE program, such as driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI), battery, and domestic violence. While these crimes may also be classified as misdemeanors they are considered higher level misdemeanor crimes, and therefore, not eligible for the RISE diversion program.

 

It is important to know that the district attorney’s office determines who is eligible for the RISE program. For example, a trespassing criminal charge might seem like a good candidate for the RISE program because trespassing is a lower level misdemeanor, but the district attorney can deny RISE eligibility to the defendant in a trespassing case for several reasons, such as the defendant has previously fallen out of the RISE program in the past, the defendant has a long criminal history, the defendant continues to engage in similar criminal activity after successful completion of RISE (or other diversion program), etc.

Conditions of RISE: The RISE program conditions are fairly straight forward: 1) pay victim restitution (if applicable), 2) pay RISE program payment fees, 3) attend a 4.5 hour "community service accountability class", 4) remain free of criminal arrests during the program duration, 5) attend a RISE program exit interview, and 6) and comply with any other reasonable condition of the RISE program coordinator and/or district attorney. After the defendant has successfully completed all the conditions of the RISE diversion program his or her criminal allegations will be dismissed. If the defendant does not comply with these condition the district attorney may either continue prosecution of the defendant, or reinstate the defendant into the RISE program (for good cause as to why the defendant did not complete a condition of the RISE program).

Enrollment into RISE: Before the defendant enters the RISE program he or her she must be referred by the district attorney. There is a referral form that is completed by the defendant and his or her attorney that is forwarded to the district attorney for his or her signature. Thereafter, the district attorney will deliver the completed referral form to a RISE coordinator. After the RISE coordinator receives the referral from the district attorney and the defendant pays the required program fees the defendant may begin the program.

Important: The RISE program is intended to last four months only. In other words, the defendant only has four months to complete the program requirements or he or she may be expelled from the program.

Seal & Destroy Records: After the defendant has completed the RISE program he or she may request that the criminal arrest and related records be sealed and destroyed (PC 851.87 & 851.92). A sealing and destruction of a criminal arrest and related records is separate from the RISE program but it is worth pursuing, especially for defendants who want to pursue a professional or occupational license.

 

Note: PC 851.87 motions are great for employment opportunities because the defendant is legally entitled to claim that he or she has not been arrested for a particular crime on employment applications that inquire as to that fact (with some limitations for peace officer employment and more). For more information on sealing and destroying criminal arrest, see PC 851 Motions).

Immigration & RISE: As stated, the RISE program is a diversion program whereby criminal prosecution is avoided if the defendant completes probation-like conditions; however, RISE is a state-sponsored program to which federal immigration law does not observe. This means that successful completion of the RISE program will not necessarily alleviate the negative immigration consequences that normally accompany criminal arrests (deportation, immigration hold, denial of reentry into the United States, etc.). However, for all intents and purposes, criminal allegations that qualify for the RISE program are not usually the same type of allegations that support immigration deportation proceedings, especially where criminal prosecution is suspended and there is never a finding of guilt on the alleged facts.

RISE & Civil Compromise: The RISE diversion program is similar to, but different than a Civil Compromise. A civil compromise is an agreement between the defendant and the victim where the defendant pays restitution to the victim in exchange for the victim’s promise not to pursue criminal prosecution. The agreement must be signed-off by the district attorney and only certain types of cases can be civilly compromised. The RISE program does not require the victim’s agreement, which makes the RISE program a more attractive options in many cases. On the hand, a civil compromise might be available for cases where the RISE program is not available. Also, a civil compromise does not require the defendant to complete a program, attend classes, or pay additional fees; therefore, a civil compromise might be a better option than the RISE program depending on the circumstances of the case.

To learn more about San Bernardino County’s RISE diversion program contact our criminal defense lawyers today. Our team has successfully handled many cases through diversion and civil compromise, including the RISE program. We can assist you with diverting criminal prosecution where available and request that your criminal arrest records related to your case be sealed and destroyed after successful completion of the RISE program. Call today!

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Criminal Defense Lawyers

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