Deferred Judgment

Des Moines Deferred Judgment Lawyer

If you've been charged with a criminal offense in Iowa, you may be eligible for a "deferred judgment."

Am I Eligible for a Deferred Judgment?

Depending on your criminal history and the type of charges you're facing, you may be eligible for a deferred judgment.

Both misdemeanors and felonies are eligible for deferred judgment unless a code section provides otherwise.

The following people are NOT eligible to receive a deferred judgment:

  • Anyone with a prior felony conviction
  • Anyone who has received a deferred judgment two or more times already
  • Anyone who was granted a deferred judgment on a felony within five years of committing the new offense.
  • Corporations

The following offenses are NOT eligible for deferred judgment:

  • Forcible felonies
  • Sexual abuse of someone under the age of 18 by a mandatory reporter.
  • Manufacture, delivery, or possession with intent to manufacture or deliver more than 5 grams of methamphetamine.
  • Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) if:
    • You have a previous OWI conviction, OR
    • Your breath test showed a higher Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) than 0.15, OR
    • You've had a deferred on an OWI (or similar offense) before, OR
    • You refused the chemical test, OR
    • You injured someone other than yourself.
  • A boating OWI with a mandatory minimum sentence or a mandatory minimum fine
  • Violation of a protective order or No Contact order
  • Contempt on a protective order or No Contact order
  • Sex Offender Registry violation
  • Homicide by vehicle while driving intoxicated
  • Serious injury by vehicle while driving intoxicated
  • Assault against a peace officer
  • Domestic abuse assault
    • if you've already had a deferred judgment or deferred sentence for domestic, OR
    • Domestic abuse assault, third or subsequent offense
  • Lascivious acts with a child under the age of twelve

How Does a Deferred Judgment Work?

Sentencing procedures start after you are found guilty or convicted of a crime in Iowa.

The judge who sentences you will decide what sentence you receive. She will consider whether you are eligible for a deferred judgment under Iowa Code 907.3. If you are deferred eligible, she will consider whether she believes it's an appropriate outcome for you and your situation.

You have to agree to a deferred to receive one.

After you're granted a deferred, you will be placed on probation.

If you don't cooperate with probation, the judge can remove you from probation, pronounce judgment, and impose any (legal) sentence that they decide is appropriate. If you are accused of violating the terms of your probation, you should talk to a probation violation lawyer immediately.

Once you follow all the probation requirements and pay your fees, you will be successfully discharged from probation "without entry of judgment." This will function similarly to expungement -- the Court will still be able to see that you were charged with the crime and received a deferred judgment on it, but people looking around on Iowa Courts Online won't find it.

How Many Deferred Judgments Can I Get?

Two. That's all you can ever get. It's a lifetime max of two deferred judgments. You can't change your mind later about an earlier deferred and use it for a later offense.

Who should not accept a deferred judgment?

Some people aren't good candidates for deferred judgments. Know yourself -- if you're a regular drug user and aren't ready or willing to get sober, for instance, you're going to drop a dirty UA at some point (and they'll be asking if you're convicted of a drug offense), and the court will likely revoke your deferred and impose the original, harsher sentence.

If you cannot follow the terms of probation, it may be better to refuse a deferred judgment and explore other options. Talk to your lawyer about whether a deferred judgment is a good fit for your situation. Call (515) 200-2787.

Charged with a crime in iowa? We can help!

Call (515) 200-2787 today for a free initial consultation.

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