If you’ve plead guilty or were convicted at trial of a misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor the judge may have sentenced you to a deferred sentence. This type of sentence is either argued for by your attorney or is an agreement between the you, your attorney, and the prosecutor which the judge agrees to follow. In essence, a judge may defer or withhold imposing a sentencing for a certain period of time on the condition that you meet certain obligations. These obligations can include, but are not limited to, paying court costs, having no-contact with certain persons, places, or businesses, not committing new crimes, completing community service, obtaining services that are relevant to your case, such as alcohol, drugs, anger management evaluations or treatment, or taking defensive driving or theft awareness classes. Upon completion of the imposed conditions within the required time frame the defendant can file a motion to have the plea of guilty withdrawn, or the guilty verdict set aside and have the case dismissed.
The judgment and sentence that the court entered upon your entry of a guilty plea, or after you were found guilty at trial will specifically notate whether your sentence was suspended or deferred. If the judgment and sentence indicates that your sentence was deferred then you were granted a deferred sentence. If you no longer have the judgment and sentence you can call the sentencing court and ask them, order a copy from the clerk of the court, or give us a call and we will look into the matter for you.
The court will require you to complete any conditions imposed upon you. If you don’t complete your conditions within the deferred sentence period you will not be eligible to have your case dismissed. The court may summons you back to court or issue a warrant for your arrest if you don’t complete the conditions outlined in your judgment and sentence, and any unpaid court costs or restitution may be sent to a collection agency.
The judge has the ultimate authority whether to allow you to withdrawal your plea or set aside a verdict of guilty after trial. In most cases, one of the conditions of the deferred sentence will be to have no new law violations during the period of your deferred sentence. If you are arrested or convicted during this time period you can be sure most prosecuting attorneys will object to having your case dismissed and often judges will not agree to dismiss your case if that happens. Although it is difficult, it’s not always completely impossible in some cases. Our office can review your situation and help determine your likelihood of success is you find you’ve landed yourself in new trouble during the period of your deferred sentence.
No. Your conviction remains until you take the appropriate steps to file the appropriate motion to have your case dismissed. This crucial step is often forgotten until the conviction shows up on a housing or employment background check.
Upon entering a plea of guilty or being found guilty at trial your official Washington State Patrol Background Check will reflect that you were either found guilty or pled guilty and will remain on your record as a conviction unless and until you file the appropriate motion to have the case dismissed. Once the motion is granted by the court, your record will reflect that the case was dismissed. The entry of the charge along with the date the crime was committed and the status of dismissed will remain on your official Washington State Patrol Background Check indefinitely. Although your record will show the crime, ultimately, you can honestly answer on applications that you have never been convicted of that crime once the court dismisses the case.
Most deferred sentences are between six months and two years. Upon the timely completion of your required conditions you can ask the court to dismiss your case. However, as indicated in the frequently asked question above, the information and the fact that your charge was dismissed remains on your official Washington State Patrol Background Check. You may be eligible to vacate the misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor if you meet all other qualifications after three or five years depending on the charge. See vacating misdemeanors section of our website for more information regarding the eligibility requirements. Under this process, the entry and conviction are deleted from the official Washington State Patrol Background check.