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What is a Deferred Sentence / Judgment?

Hi, I’m attorney Derek Gray with Graystar Legal. We are a criminal law firm located in Winston Salem, North Carolina, and this is our FAQ series.

Today’s question deals with deferred sentences, or “deferred judgments.”

What the Law Says

Specifically, let’s go to the law. Typically, I’ll see these types of scenarios on two main occasions.

First is going to be North Carolina Statute 15A-1341 (A4). This statute is more general in nature and it applies to H and I felonies or lower. It does not apply to DWIs, however.

The other statute is North Carolina Statute 90-96, which is going to apply only to drug charges.

Essentially what these statues mean for you is that they are a means for you to keep your record clean.

Qualifications and Conditions for a Deferred Sentence in North Carolina

Typically, in order to actually qualify for this type of scenario—this type of judgment—you need to have a clean record and no prior criminal convictions on your record.

Now, a deferred sentence is in fact a conviction. You’ll end up having to plead guilty to it. However, the judge will defer your sentencing based upon the completion of certain conditions.

Conditions typically include one or more of the following requirements:

  • Community service
  • Substance abuse assessment and treatment
  • Payment of fines, restitution, and court costs

There’s a number of different things—depending on the actual charge that you’re charged with—that the judge can condition this agreement upon. However, if you successfully complete all the conditions without picking up new charges under either one of those statues, then on your review date, a judge could actually dismiss those charges.

In fact, they will dismiss the charges to the extent that you complete the conditions and don’t pick up any new charges. At that point, an attorney like myself can expunge that matter off your record and your record will still be clean.

Contact a Winston-Salem Criminal Defense Attorney

So, guys, I hope this answered your question in terms of what deferred sentences or deferred judgments are what we typically see by way of what’s called a “conditional discharge.”

If you have any additional questions about a conditional discharge, a deferred judgment, or a deferred sentence, please do not hesitate to reach out to Graystar Legal. I’d love to discuss your situation with you further and talk about how I may be able to help.

Until then, guys, take care and be safe.

Author Bio

Derek M. Gray

Derek Gray is the CEO and Managing Partner of Graystar Legal, a North Carolina criminal defense law firm. With more than 15 years of experience in criminal defense, he has zealously represented clients in various legal matters, including DUIs, misdemeanors, felonies, domestic violence, and other criminal charges.

Derek received his Juris Doctor from the North Carolina Central School of Law in 2007 and is a member of the North Carolina State Bar Association. With his experience as a former Assistant District Attorney, he has represented more than 1,000 criminal defense clients in North Carolina and received more than 100 5-star Google ratings.

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