The penalties for domestic assault in Virginia are serious and numerous. However, if you have been charged with domestic assault and you meet certain conditions, you may be eligible to participate in the deferred disposition program.
Consult with a criminal defense lawyer who specializes in domestic assault in Prince William County and Fairfax County. John Kassabian of Kassabian & Kassabian, PLC, in Fairfax, VA, has been helping people who have been arrested for domestic assault for decades. He can help you navigate the system and work with you to determine if you meet the requirements for the deferred disposition program for domestic assault in Virginia.
WHAT IS THE DEFERRED DISPOSITION PROGRAM FOR DOMESTIC ASSAULT?
The deferred disposition program permits the individual charged with domestic assault of a family or household member (or a domestic assault and battery of a family or household member) the chance to push back adjudication and to have the charged dismissed. During the period of the deferral, the offender often must go through community educational programs and treatment while under probation.
Not everyone can take advantage of this program. To qualify for deferred disposition, the defendant must: 1) have been an adult when the offense occurred; 2) not have ever been convicted of any offense related to domestic assault or battery or; 3) any kind of violent act; 4) not have had a conviction related to assault or battery dismissed; 5) plead guilty, enter a plea of not guilty or nolo contendere; and 6) waive their right of appeal. More can be found about the details of eligibility in Virginia's Legislative Information System.
Typical requirements of the deferred disposition program include community-based probation, as well as completion of “treatment, education programs, or services, or any combination thereof” if those are available and if the court has determined that such measures are necessary. Paying for the treatment, programs, and services falls to the defendant, based on a sliding scale. The defendant must also exhibit good behavior over a period of two years, which may include their probation time.
It's important that defendants adhere closely to the rules and regulations laid out by their probation officers, as well as those required by the various programs, treatments, and services they're obliged to complete successfully. If defendants violate any of these conditions, they will no longer be a part of the deferred disposition program. Because a requirement for participating in the deferred disposition program may be that the defendant enter a plea of guilty or nolo contendere, the court will then simply proceed to sentence the defendant based on that plea if the court conditions are not successfully complied with.
DEFERRED DISPOSITION FOR CRIMINAL CASES
Domestic assault or domestic assault and battery are not the only charges for which deferred disposition may be considered. For any criminal case in Virginia, if there are appropriate reasons—including mitigating factors related to the defendant or the offense, or at the request of the victim of the offense, or any other appropriate factors to defer the proceedings—entry of a final order or a conviction order may be deferred by the court. However, deferral requires that the defendant waive his right to appeal a final order of guilt.
Similar to the way the deferred disposition for domestic assault program works, the defendant must adhere to whatever agreements are reached by the court in order to have their criminal case disposition deferred. The result is usually dismissal of the proceedings but may alternatively include a conviction of either the original charge, an amended charge, or a lesser offense. A significant distinction of this type of deferred disposition is that the defendant may be eligible, under certain circumstances, to have the police and court records expunged.
ARE YOU ELIGIBLE FOR DEFERRED DISPOSITION?
A qualified and experienced criminal defense attorney can help you maneuver through any criminal charge. Criminal defense lawyer for Prince William and Fairfax Counties, John Kassabian of Kassabian & Kassabian, PLC, can advise you on all matters related to domestic assault and battery and other criminal charges. Working with John will help you determine if you are eligible for deferred disposition, and what going through that process entails. Contact Kassabian & Kassabian for a free consultation.