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DISPOSITION FOR CRIMINAL CASES CAN BE DEFERRED IN VIRGINIA

Posted by John A. Kassabian | Oct 05, 2022

Are you a first offender? If so, the disposition (also known as the final outcome) for your criminal case may be eligible for deferral in Virginia. That can be advantageous for you because it is possible for the charges against you to ultimately be dismissed.

How does it work, and are you eligible for deferred disposition [for your] criminal case? Consult with criminal defense attorney John Kassabian of Kassabian & Kassabian, P.L.C., in Fairfax, VA, to find out what's possible in your case.

VIRGINIA DEFERRED DISPOSITION STATUTE

According to Virginia statute19.2.-298.02, criminal cases can be deferred by a presiding trial court after considering the case's facts and circumstances. Terms and conditions are usually applied, and if the defendant follows those guidelines, it usually results in either an alternative (lesser) finding or dismissal of the proceedings.

However, it is possible that the defendant may still be convicted of the original charge. If, for example, the defendant violates the agreement, “the court may enter an adjudication of guilt.” And, when the defendant consents to a deferral, they waive their right to appeal any final order of guilt.

If the charges wind up being dismissed, the charge may possibly be eligible for expungement in accordance with Code §19.2-392.2.

WHAT HAPPENS AT A VIRGINIA DEFERRED DISPOSITION?

The defendant enters a plea, but the judge doesn't enter their final finding for a probationary period of time or a period of good behavior during which the defendant must follow the terms of the deferral. Here's an example.

Let's say that you are a first offender charged with destruction of property, petit larceny, or even a crime of violence, such as assault and battery. Your record is otherwise clean. You plead no contest to the charge, and the judge determines that they will withhold a final finding of guilt on the condition that you complete a certain number of hours of community service, a shoplifting course, or an anger management course within the probationary period set by the court. You do so, and your case is dismissed.

It all sounds very easy—but it is important to have an attorney by your side that can help guide you to this outcome.

WHAT OFFENSES ARE ELIGIBLE FOR A DEFERRED DISPOSITION?

A variety of offense are eligible for deferred disposition, including many juvenile offenses, drug charges, larceny, destruction or property, trespassing, underage possession of alcohol, assault and battery cases (which could include domestic violence), and many criminal offenses where the defendant has been diagnosed by a psychiatrist or clinical psychologist with autism or an intellectual disability.      

Larceny is also often considered for a deferred disposition if the defendant committed petit larceny for the first time with no prior criminal record.

IS A DEFERRED DISPOSITION A CONVICTION?

A deferred disposition is not considered to be a conviction. However, there will be an entry on your criminal record showing that you were charged and that the case against you was dismissed.

A deferred disposition will, therefore, show up on a background check. Remember, that outcome is much more desirable than a background check showing a conviction. If you would like a criminal defense attorney to help you through the deferred disposition process, get in touch with John Kassabian to set up a free consultation.

About the Author

John A. Kassabian

John A. Kassabian joined the family firm in 2002 after having served as a Prosecutor in Fairfax County and Prince William County. Specializing in criminal defense, traffic defense and civil related matters, John has an extensive criminal law background and has handled a wide variety of cases for ...

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