The information below is accurate to the authors’ knowledge at the time it was written. This is general information and is not a substitute for legal advice.

A deferred judgment is a sentencing option where a defendant pleads guilty and is placed on probation.

The judge sets the conditions of probation. The conditions vary, but may include the following:

  • Monetary fine (also called a civil penalty)
  • Substance abuse evaluation and treatment
  • Community service
  • No law violations other than traffic violations
  • Educational class

If you successfully complete probation, the case will be expunged and sealed from public record. However, it may still be visible on background checks. Note: even after expungement, a deferred judgment could be considered a conviction. Certain cases are eligible for expungement without a deferred judgment.

If you violate any of the conditions of probation, the deferred judgment could be revoked, and you would return to court for re-sentencing.

You can only receive two deferred judgments in your lifetime, and they are not guaranteed. There are pros and cons to receiving a deferred judgment. For example, you may not want to request a deferred judgment in a minor case in order to preserve it as an option in a future, more serious case. Further, you may prefer to plead guilty and pay a fine instead of completing the conditions of probation. 

Also under Criminal Law:

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Police Encounters

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Fake IDs

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Paying your fines

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