Saturday, November 12, 2016

A Quick Guide to California Required DUI Classes

Here is a quick guide we put together on the DUI classes required by the California courts for both resident and non-resident offenders: Quick Guide to California DUI Classes

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The (Real) Cost of Pretrial Justice

What is the (Real) Cost of Pretrial Justice? Here's the answer: 

More Days in Jail = Higher Risk of Crime

(Originally published in the Public Welfare Foundation's Newsletter)

Jails are very expensive to build and maintain, but they are often seen as worth the investment since they keep criminals off the street. However, many communities are surprised to find that when they look at who is actually in their jail, the population is predominately low-level, non-violent defendants who simply could not post their bond. In the short term, the community incurs the cost of incarcerating these individuals unnecessarily, but the long-term costs may be more significant. New research from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation has shown that incarceration itself is correlated with an increased likelihood that low risk defendants will commit future crimes. In (Lowenkamp, C.T., VanNostrand, M, and Holsinger, A. (2013). The Hidden Costs of Pretrial Detention. New York: Laura and John Arnold Foundation.

In terms of the costs of new crime and victimization, as well as the cost of incarceration itself, communities benefit from either not incarcerating these individuals in the first place, or releasing them as quickly as possible from jail. 

An Effective and Efficient Solution

Fortunately, the science of pretrial justice offers an answer that protects public safety and minimizes costs. By assessing the risk defendants pose to public safety, and the likelihood that they will return to court, judges are able to make informed decisions as to who needs to be in jail, and who can safely stay in the community. A continuum of community supervision options can also allow communities to best respond to the risk that a defendant poses—and at a fraction of the cost of a jail bed.
Time is of the essence, however, and pretrial policy must also address system efficiency. As shown in National Association of Pretrial Services Agencies. (2014) The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Pretrial System: A “front door” to health and safety. Retrieved on May 20, 2014 from Holder, E. (2011). Attorney General Eric Holder speaks at the the Arnold Foundation research, unnecessary nights in jail have a real public safety cost, so systems must carefully consider how law enforcement makes arrest and booking decisions, and how courts, jails, and pretrial services agencies screen and hold or release defendants.

In addition, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) creates a unique opportunity for the pretrial system to connect defendants to health services in the community. Often, jails become de facto providers of physical and behavioral health services, at a very high cost, and upon release defendants frequently relapse due to lack of care. To break the vicious cycle, several communities have begun enrolling defendants in Medicaid, allowing them to access physical and behavioral health services in the community, receive services at a lower cost than through the jail, and ideally avoid future arrest and conviction.


Sunday, December 7, 2014

Web Based Interventions Seen as Effective in Treating Substance Use Problems

A new study in the American Journal Of Psychiatry (Volume 171, Issue 6, June 2014) shows that incorporating a web-based educational intervention in the treatment of drug abuse can not only help people stop using drugs, but can also keep them in treatment longer.

TES is a web-based version of the Community Reinforcement Approach plus Contingency Management, a packaged approach with demonstrated efficacy.  The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the NIH, funded this study.

TES consists of 62 interactive modules that teach patients how to achieve and maintain abstinence from drug use and includes prize-based motivational incentives to encourage adherence to treatment.  Patients given TES were less likely to drop out of treatment than those in the control group.  Also, the web-based intervention helped patients stay abstinent from drug use, even those who were not abstinent at the beginning of the study.  With such findings, web-based interventions like TES are promising additions to drug abuse treatment.

This approach, which combines skills-oriented counseling and contingency management in an Internet-delivered behavioral intervention, produced high rates of abstinence from drugs and heavy drinking among patients with a good prognosis (those who entered the study with positive urine drug or breath alcohol screen) but doubled the likelihood of abstinence among patients with an otherwise poor prognosis.

Computer-delivered interventions have the potential to improve access to quality addiction treatment care. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of the Therapeutic Education System (TES), an Internet-delivered behavioral intervention that includes motivational incentives, as a clinician-extender in the treatment of substance use disorders.

Adult men and women (N=507) entering 10 outpatient addiction treatment programs were randomly assigned to receive 12 weeks of either treatment as usual (N=252) or treatment as usual plus TES, with the intervention substituting for about 2 hours of standard care per week (N=255).

TES consists of 62 computerized interactive modules covering skills for achieving and maintaining abstinence, plus prize-based motivational incentives contingent on abstinence and treatment adherence. Treatment as usual consisted of individual and group counseling at the participating programs. The primary outcome measures were abstinence from drugs and heavy drinking (measured by twice-weekly urine drug screens and self-report) and time to dropout from treatment.

Compared with patients in the treatment-as-usual group, those in the TES group had a lower dropout rate and a greater abstinence rate. This effect was more pronounced among patients who had a positive urine drug or breath alcohol screen at study entry (N=228).

Internet-delivered interventions such as TES have the potential to expand access and improve addiction treatment outcomes. Additional research is needed to assess effectiveness in non-specialty clinical settings and to differentiate the effects of the community reinforcement approach and contingency management components of TES.

Tom Wilson Counseling Online Alcohol Classes currently uses similar evidenced based practices inclusing cognitive behavioral techniques, motivational enhancement therapy and stages of change theory.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

California Courts Accept Tom Wilson Counseling Online DUI Classes for Out of State DUI Offenders

A recent survey of California courts that approved Tom Wilson Counseling Center's online DUI classes for out of state offenders was recently published and made available in graphical form for Attorneys and probation officers at a California Probation Association Conference. Here are the results:

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Online Class Meets California Penal Code 1000 Deferred Entry of Judgment Drug Diversion Program

Deferred Entry of Judgment Drug Diversion Program

Many non-violent drug offenders would benefit more from treatment and education than from jail and a criminal record.

Penal Code 1000 PC is California's Deferred Entry of Judgment ( DEJ ) program allows offenders an alternative to prison or other criminal punishments. It is a drug diversion program that allows eligible defendants to be diverted out of the criminal court system and into a drug rehabilitation program.

Tom Wilson Counseling Center offers an Online 26 Hour Deferred Entry of Judgment Drug Diversion Class for out of state residents who receive a drug charge offense in the State of California and cannot find other in-person solutions or alternatives.

Ask your attorney to determine if you are eligible.

Overview of Penal Code 1000 PC

Deferred Entry of Judgment, defined in Penal Code 1000 PC, allows eligible defendants the opportunity to have their criminal proceedings suspended while they attempt to complete a drug treatment program.

Generally speaking, the defendant enters a guilty plea to the charge(s). If the judge determines that the defendant is a good candidate for drug diversion, he/she will suspend the criminal proceedings, typically for a period of 18 months, although it may be as long as three years, while the defendant participates in a drug rehabilitation program.

A drug rehabilitation program is one that has been certified or deemed credible and effective by the applicable county drug program administrator. The defendant may request to be referred to a program in any county, as long as the program meets this criteria. All programs include at least some of the following curriculum:
  • an initial assessment of the defendant,
  • a minimum of 20 hours of effective education and/or counseling, and
  • an exit conference which shall reflect the defendant's progress during his/her participation in the program.
If the defendant successfully completes the program, the judge dismisses the charges and, with only a few exceptions, the defendant may truthfully state that he/she has never been arrested for the charged offense.

However, if the judge does not believe that the defendant would benefit from treatment or the defendant does not successfully complete his/her course of treatment, the judge will impose sentence on the charge(s).


Before a defendant can participate in California's deferred entry of judgment program, he/she must be eligible to do so. Eligibility is primarily based on two factors:
  • the charged offense(s), and
  • the defendant's personal history.
The charged offense(s)

California drug diversion is only offered in connection with certain qualifying offenses. If your charged offense/offenses are not specifically listed under Penal Code 1000 PC, you will not be able to participate in this deferred entry of judgment program.

There are essentially two criteria for these offenses:
  1. they must involve personally possessing or using drugs as opposed to possessing them for sale or   actually selling them, and
  2. the crime must not involve any allegations of violence or threatened violence.
The most common examples of these California drug crimes include (but are not limited to) violations of:
  • Health and Safety Code 11377 HS and Health and Safety Code 11350 HS California's laws against personal possession of a controlled substance
  • Health and Safety Code 11357 HS California's law against possession of less than one ounce of marijuana
  • Health and Safety Code 11358 HS California's law against cultivating marijuana 10 (if you can prove that you only cultivated the marijuana for your own personal use)
  • Health and Safety Code 11364 HS California's law against possessing drug paraphernalia
  • Health and Safety Code 11365 HS California's law against knowingly being in a place where drugs are being used
  • Health and Safety Code 11550 HS California's law against being under the influence of a controlled substance
  • Health and Safety Code 11368 HS California's law against forging or presenting a forged prescription to obtain drugs (if you can prove that the acquired controlled substances were exclusively for your personal use)
  • Vehicle Code 23222(b) VC California's law against driving while in possession of marijuana
  • Penal Code 647(f) PC California's drunk in public law (if you were under the influence of drugs or drugs and alcohol, as opposed to just alcohol)
  • Penal Code 653f(d) PC California's law against soliciting drug sales or transportation17 (if you can prove that you only "solicited"…that is, encouraged…another person to engage in these activities so that you could exclusively acquire drugs for your personal use)
Some of the controlled substances that are covered by these laws include:

cocaine, heroin, peyote, gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB), ecstasy (X), ketamine (Special K),    methamphetamines, marijuana, certain hallucinogenic substances, such as phencyclidine ("PCP"), and even certain prescription drugs such as codeine, and hydrocodone (Vicodin).

Penal Code 1000 PC California's DEJ program is not only applicable to a much wider variety of crimes than its counterpart California Proposition 36 but is also much less restrictive. This is because PC 1000 allows convictions for certain offenses that Prop. 36 does not.

These offenses include, for example,
  • cultivating marijuana for your personal use, and
  • forging prescriptions for your personal use.21

Your personal history

Even if the charged offense qualifies you for DEJ, you must still prove that you are personally eligible for drug diversion. In order to qualify, you cannot have;
  • any prior drug-related convictions,
  • had your probation or parole revoked without completing your terms and conditions,
  • participated in a drug diversion or DEJ program within five years prior to the alleged commission of the charged offense, and
  • any prior felony convictions within five years prior to the alleged commission of the charged offense.22
If you do not meet these criteria, the judge will declare you ineligible for deferred entry of judgment and sentence you on the charged offense(s).

Sentencing in Connection with Deferred Entry of Judgment

Once the judge determines that you are a good candidate for Penal Code 1000 PC California's deferred entry of judgment program, you must enter a guilty plea to the applicable charge(s). At that point, you waive time for the pronouncement of judgment, which means that you give the court permission to postpone sentencing, so that you can participate in drug diversion.

Drug treatment

At the court's request, the court's local probation department will conduct an investigation as to what course of treatment is most appropriate. It will consider factors such as the defendant's age, any employment and/or service records, education, community and family ties, and any prior drug history (including any prior treatment history).

But regardless of what the probation department recommends, the ultimate decision as to what type of treatment should be offered is up to the judge.

If the prosecutor, probation department or the court believes that you are failing to adhere to the program, are not benefiting from treatment, have been convicted of a) a felony, or b) a misdemeanor that reflects your propensity for violence, or c) have engaged in any criminal activity that renders you unsuitable for DEJ, the judge may enter judgment on the guilty plea and will set a sentencing hearing to determine the appropriate punishment for the charge(s). However, if you successfully complete the program, the court is required to dismiss the charge(s).

Successful Completion of DEJ

What makes drug diversion so attractive is the fact that your criminal charge(s) will be automatically dismissed as long as you successfully complete the program. Once your charges are dismissed, it is almost as if the arrest legally never occurred.

There is an exception to this general principle. You and the Department of Justice must disclose the arrest if you apply to become a peace officer. Other than that, when you successfully complete your deferred entry of judgment program, "the arrest upon which the judgment was deferred shall be deemed to have never occurred". This means that you can truthfully state that you have never been arrested or granted deferred entry of judgment for the offense, and the arrest record cannot be used in any way to affect your employment or a professional license or certificate.

ALL classes developed and monitored by Tom Wilson, a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor who is also a Certified Alcohol and Substance Prevention Specialist. Tom is the author of "Taming Anger and Aggression", an anger management program which has been taught to hundreds of people at the counseling center over the last twelve years. He specializes in adapting evidence-based substance abuse prevention programs for delivery through the web and other electronic media.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Drug Diversion for Deferred Entry of Judgment

The Deferred Entry of Judgment Program is a "Diversion" program for first offense drug defendants. Diversion is the procedure of suspending the criminal prosecution of an individual, by allowing the offender to complete a drug education, drug treatment, or drug rehabilitation program instead of further criminal proceedings.

Diversion has become a very popular method of alleviating congested court calendars, while at the same time allowing first-offenders to avoid the blemish of a drug conviction on their record. The DEJ program allows offenders to avoid a criminal record by completing drug education or a drug counseling program.

If a first offense drug defendant has an otherwise clean criminal record, judges generally will find a defendant eligible for the deferred entry of judgement program without requiring a formal eligibility evaluation.

Tom Wilson is the founder of Tom Wilson Counseling Center. He has a Master's Degree in Psychology with over 25 years of experience in counseling, training and consulting. He is a State Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor. He is the author of "Taming Anger and Aggression", an anger management program which has been taught to hundreds of people at the counseling center over the last twelve years. He specializes in adapting evidence-based substance abuse prevention programs for delivery through the web and other electronic media. 

Tom Wilson Counseling Center is a court-approved provider of Alcohol, Drug and DUI Classes for individuals who are court ordered or who may want to enroll in classes voluntarily. Tom Wilson is also an approved provider of Online Parent Education and Family Stabilization Classes for Florida and Texas. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

California Online Deferred Entry of Judgment PC 1000 Class to Suspend Criminal Prosecution for First Offenders

Register for Drug Diversion Class
Online Deferred Entry of Judgment Class to meet Drug Diversion PC 1000 Program Court Requirements for First Time Offenders

Meets California's PC1000 Court Requirements

Complete Online Drug Diversion Program for Court Requirements with a Certified Substance Abuse Prevention Specialist. This class is for first time drug offenders, such as possession of marijuana or a controlled substance and/or paraphernalia. If a first offense drug defendant has an otherwise clean criminal record, judges generally will find a defendant eligible for the deferred entry of judgement program or drug diversion class without requiring a formal eligibility evaluation. This drug awareness class is also known as a Deferred Entry of Judgment or PC 1000 class in California. Get court approval before enrolling.

Tom Wilson Counseling Center and TeleHealth has been providing approved classes online since 2004 for DUI, Alcohol, Drug, Anger Management, Conflict Management, Petty Theft Shoplifting, Traffic Safety, Parent Education, Thinking Errors, Cognitive Self Change, and DUI, Alcohol, Drug Evaluations. Instructor credentials can be viewed here:

Contact us at or call Toll Free 1.877.368.9909 during office hours; Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm MDT/MST with questions. If you call before or after our regular office hours, please leave a message and we will return your call as soon as possible.