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Virginia's New Deferred Disposition Statute Explained: How it Can Help in Your Case

What is a Deferred Disposition?

A deferred disposition is a way to work out a criminal case in a manner such that a charge can be reduced or dismissed if certain conditions are met. Normally, the defendant will have to plead guilty or no contest (no admittance of guilt, but you concur that the prosecution has enough evidence to convict you). However, some deferred dispositions are allowed after a not guilty plea has been entered and after having been convicted at trial. Regardless of the plea entered, the defendant is not convicted at that time, but rather a finding of guilt is withheld until they complete certain conditions.


Conditions of a deferred disposition can include probation, completion of programs or classes such as anger management, making restitution to the victim(s), completion of community service, payment of court costs, and more.

The Significance of Virginia’s New Deferred Disposition Statute

Previously, a deferred disposition was only allowed in very specific cases authorized by law. For example, a first offender disposition for drug crimes, domestic violence, and property crimes such that the person did not previously have a felony conviction and did not previously have a deferred disposition under the first offender statute. Deferred dispositions were not available other than these specifically enumerated code sections.


Now, under Va. Code § 19.2-298.02, a trial court is allowed to defer a disposition in criminal cases when both the Commonwealth and the defense agree. This new statute lays out which factors the court must consider, and waives the right to appeal the end result of the case if the defendant fails to complete the deferral and is convicted and sentenced on the original charge. Furthermore, the new law allows for a type of deferred disposition that can be expunged from someone’s record if they complete the deferred disposition as long as the prosecution agrees.


Additionally, Va. Code § 19.2-303.6 allows for deferred disposition for persons whose crimes were “caused by or had a direct and substantial relationship to” the person’s autism or intellectual disabilities. This code section does not require the agreement by the prosecution to defer the disposition. However, the court is required to consider the prosecution’s position, as well as the views of the victim. This specific statute does not mention expungement.

How We Can Help

The Pickett Law Group, PLLC is an experienced law firm with two generations of former prosecutors, who have fought from both sides of the courtroom on all types of legal issues, including those involving Deferred Disposition. Our attorneys can analyze your case and determine whether Deferred Disposition is right for your case. Contact us today and we will begin fighting on your behalf.

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