when is a felony, not a felon. is a deferred sentence for assualt and battery with dangerous weapons, not a felony? but are on a 5 years probation.

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when is a felony, not a felon. is a deferred sentence for assualt and battery with dangerous weapons, not a felony? but are on a 5 years probation.

Asked on April 24, 2009 under Criminal Law, Oklahoma

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

If a deferred sentence is imposed it may not matter if a crime is a felony.  Let me explain.  A deferred sentence is a court-passed judgment that allows a probationary period before imposing the sentence. This option may be given in cases where repeat offenses are unlikely, when the accused has no criminal record, or often at the judge’s discretion.  If at the end of the probationary time the defendant has met all imposed conditions, a judge may throw out the sentence and guilty plea, leaving the defendant without a recorded conviction for most purposes. So felony or not the convictions thrown out.

In order to impose a deferred sentence, a defendant must plead guilty to all or some of the crimes with which they are charged. Usually, a defendant is offered a deal to plead guilty under the promise of a deferred sentence, in order to settle a case quickly.  The judge decides what the sentence for the crimes would be if convicted today, so you will often see court releases stipulating a deferred prison sentence of a certain amount of years (in your case 5).  The years specified constitute the term the defendant will serve if they fail to meet the conditions of their probationary period.

A judge can order many types of actions to be completed during the probationary period.  In addition to regular meetings with a probation officer, some people may be required to attend drug and alcohol counseling, seek psychiatric help, pay fines, or maintain support payments to any spouses or children.  Obviously, the defendant cannot be charged or convicted of another crime during the probationary period.

At the end of the specified probation the judge will review the case.  If the defendant has met all of the conditions, the judge will most likely throw out the guilty plea and enter a non-conviction judgment.  For most purposes, this action will allow the defendant to legally state that they have never been convicted of a crime.  In some federal cases, however, deferred sentences can be tabulated into the criminal history score of the accused.

If a defendant fails to meet the requirements of their deferred sentence, the judge can order their arrest.  In many cases, the convicted person will then have to serve the entirety of their original sentence.  The court often treats violating parole terms or other impositions of a deferred sentence harshly.


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