Generally, if a person enters a guilty plea or receives a guilty verdict, the court will order the defendant to sentencing that could include jail or prison time. However, under Iowa law, the judge could decide to defer sentencing of the individual and place them on probation for a specific period. While on probation, they must comply with specific orders from the judge. If the person completes the conditions of their probation, they may not have to spend time in jail, and the conviction will not show up on their criminal record. However, if they fail to meet the terms of the deferred judgment, the individual may have to return to the court for sentencing.
Limitations on Deferred Judgments
A judge can defer sentencing for only certain types of offenses, and the conditions the individual must meet will vary depending on the crime. The court may decide to place the defendant on probation, order them to supervision or services with the department of corrections, or commit them to an alternate jail facility or a community correctional treatment center.
A deferred judgment cannot be granted if the individual was charged with a forcible felony, had two or more deferments in Iowa or any other state, or had previously received a deferred sentence for specific offenses, including domestic abuse assault or OWI with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or more.
When making a decision, the judge will also review the defendant’s specific circumstances, such as criminal history and/or ability to change behaviors. Additionally, if there was a victim, the judge might also seek their input before deferring judgment.
Deferred Judgment Revoked
If the defendant does not comply with the conditions of the deferred judgment, the judge can revoke the deferral and sentence them according to Iowa law. Before the judge revokes probation, the defendant must be allowed to speak to the proposed judgments.
If the defendant fulfills the conditions of the deferred judgment, their charges will be dismissed, and a conviction will not be entered on their record.
However, the dismissal does not completely clear information regarding the alleged offense from the defendant’s records. Information about the arrest, the charge, and the deferred judgment may still be entered on their record, which could show up on an employment background check or a law enforcement investigation.
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