Even if a case isn’t winnable, many defendants are able to take advantage of a process known as deferred disposition, a unique way to resolve certain types of cases. To be eligible for deferred disposition, you must:
- Be an adult (Can I say 18 years of age, or could someone younger be tried as an adult and be eligible?)
- Have no prior domestic violence convictions
- Have never had another domestic violence case dismissed as a result of a domestic violence deferred disposition
- Plead or be found guilty
- Agree to enter the program (Can I just remove this?)
While the actual terms are up to a judge’s discretion, people who enter the program are usually required to complete two years of probation. During your first probation year, you will be monitored by a probation officer. Your second year will be inactive, meaning instead of monitoring, a record check will be conducted at the end of the probation period. In addition to serving this probationary period, you will be required to take part in domestic violence and/or anger management counseling. If both probation and counseling are completed successfully, the case will be dismissed at the end of the probationary period. The arrest will remain on your criminal record after the case is dismissed, but the record will not show a conviction, which could prove highly beneficial: many schools and workplaces require applicants to disclose any past convictions; upon completion of this program, applicants can truthfully say that have not been convicted of a crime.
Typically, under Virginia law, convictions remain on your criminal record for life. However, the deferred disposition allows guilty individuals to avoid this fate. While the deferred disposition is a favorable resolution, it should go without saying that being found not guilty is certainly the preferred outcome. If a better outcome than the deferred disposition can be reached, your attorney should certainly make every effort to arrange it. An attorney with experience in Virginia domestic violence cases should be able to review your case and determine if a deferred disposition is a good result. Faraji Rosenthall has handled hundreds of domestic violence cases throughout Virginia. If you have a pending case, call today for a free consultation.