If you are under arrest for criminal charges, you probably assume that you’ll have to accept the consequences.
However, there may be alternatives to incarceration and hefty fines.
You should discuss your situation with an experienced Colorado criminal defense lawyer, but read on for some important information about deferred judgement.
How Deferred Judgement and Sentencing Works
If you qualify, you may be able to resolve criminal charges against you through a deferred sentence in Colorado.
This option provides you with a way to avoid a harsh criminal sentence, including jail time, if you complete the terms of your deferred sentence. It’s essentially what you’d consider probation, but there are some distinctions.
Deferred judgement is usually obtained through agreement between your criminal defense lawyer and the prosecuting attorney. The arrangement must get approval by the judge, and it will include a list of conditions you must meet.
Your deferred sentencing order will also designate a time period, which varies according to the underlying crime. Finally, and most importantly, you’ll plead guilty to the charges.
Deferred sentencing is usually reserved for first-time offenders and those arrested for minor, non-violent crimes. For instance, you may qualify if you have charges for possession of a controlled substance, public intoxication, or some misdemeanor traffic violations.
However, if you have a criminal history or you were under arrest for a violent felony, deferred judgement may not be an option. Even if your lawyer and the prosecution can reach an agreement, the judge may not approve a deferred sentence.
Common Terms and Conditions of a Deferred Sentence
The exact arrangement will depend on the nature of the crime and various other factors, but a deferred judgement order will typically include:
- A ban on contacting the victim or being present
in certain areas;
- Drug or alcohol assessments and education
- Random drug and alcohol testing;
- Meeting with a probation officer;
- Attending all scheduled court appearances;
- Avoiding any additional criminal activity; and,
- Many other requirements.
Consequences for Violating Deferred Judgement in Colorado
If you fail to comply with the terms of your deferred sentence, there are harsh implications for your case. The exception is paying restitution to victims: If you can’t pay, you may get an extension to allow additional time.
However, all other violations could lead to termination of your deferred judgement arrangement. Recall that you already pled guilty to the charges, so you won’t get the opportunity to present a defense.
You’ve officially waived your right to a trial and will move directly to the sentencing phase. You may face prison time, fines, and other criminal sanctions that depend on the underlying crime.
Conclusion of a Criminal Case Resolved Through Deferred Sentence
If you do comply with all conditions listed in the deferred judgement order, your case is exempt. Officials must drop the charges and there’s no criminal conviction.
When required to provide information in connection with an employment, loans, or related situation. You can truthfully say you have no conviction for any crimes.
However, keep in mind that you still have the arrest on your record. This matter will still appear on a background check conducted by an employer or other entity.
Fortunately, when you successfully resolve a criminal case through deferred sentencing, you’re eligible to have the criminal case sealed. When the court grants your petition for records sealing, it will be concealed from the public and employers.
Discuss Deferred Sentences with a Colorado Criminal Defense Attorney
For more information on deferred judgement in Colorado, please contact Miller Leonard, PC to schedule a consultation. Our lawyers can review your case and explain the arrangement in more detail.
Deferred sentencing isn’t a good fit for everyone, especially where you have doubts about whether you can comply with the terms. We’re happy to advise you on making the right decision for your situation.