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Bad News – A Colorado Deferred Judgment Is Not Technically A Probation Sentence

By H. Michael Steinberg Colorado Probation Violation Criminal Defense Lawyer – Attorney

Bad News - A Colorado Deferred Judgment Is Not Technically A Probation Sentence

Bad News – A Colorado Deferred Judgment Is Not Technically A Probation Sentence

Bad News – A Colorado Deferred Judgment Is Not Technically A Probation Sentence – When a deferred judgement is revoked and regular probation is imposed, a new Colorado case holds that “credit” for the time spent on the deferred judgement is not required to be applied to the new term of probation.

Understanding The Colorado Deferred Judgement And Sentence

While the terms are sometimes confused and interchanged – a deferred judgement and sentence is a “dispositional alternative” to a sentence to probation.

They are not the same thing.

A recent Colorado case has held that the intended period of time served on what later turns into an unsuccessful deferred judgment does NOT qualify as time served on probation.

The pronouncement of a “sentence” under Colorado law is defined as:

“.. that part of a judgment which describes the punishment imposed by the court following the defendant’s conviction for a criminal offense,” and probation is a form of sentence that may be imposed upon entry of a judgment.”

Strictly speaking “probation” is “a sentence where judgement (conviction) is imposed.” The only role of the Court in sentencing an individual to probation is to set the “conditions” of probation. The Judge retains authority to modify the conditions of the sentence or to re-sentence the offender if he violates the conditions of probation.

If a Judge accepts a Colorado Defendant’s guilty plea, the Judge must enter judgment and sentence.

The exception is the deferred judgment and sentence. Commonly referred to as a “deferred judgement” or “DJ and S.” If a defendant successfully completes a “DJ and S,” the judgment of conviction never enters on his or her record and the case may be sealed under Colorado law.

A Colorado Deferred Judgement Is Essentially A Continuance – 18-1.3-102(1)(a), C.R.S.

Colorado Law Section 18-1.3-102(1)(a), C.R.S., (the deferred judgment statute in felony cases) authorizes a court, after acceptance of a defendant’s guilty plea and upon consent of all parties,

“…to continue the case for the purpose of entering judgment and sentence upon the plea of guilty for a period not to exceed four years for a felony . . . .”

The law states:

“As a condition of continuing the case, the trial court is empowered to implement probation-like supervision conditions that the defendant must adhere to.”

The nature of the “conditions” of the deferred judgement are arrived at by agreement of the parties and approval of the agreement by the Judge. These conditions are called “stipulations” and run, like a contract, between the Defendant and the Prosecution and are “...similar in all respects to conditions permitted as part of probation.”

When Things Go Wrong On A Colorado Deferred Judgement And Sentence

As a result of a successfully completed probation sentence:

“…the plea of guilty previously entered shall be withdrawn and the charge upon which the judgment and sentence of the court was deferred shall be dismissed with prejudice.”

But – and here is the rub – if a Judge finds there has been a violation of a condition regulating the defendant’s conduct the Court must revoke the deferred judgment and “enter judgment and impose sentence upon the guilty plea . . ” § 18-1.3-102(2).

If a Colorado Defendant fails at a deferred judgement he or she is usually sentenced to “regular probation” upon entry of the judgment of conviction. There is no right to some sort of “credit” for the months or years that have already passed while on the deferred judgement and that is BECAUSE a deferred judgement is NOT a sentence to probation.

Unlike a sentence that includes a suspension of sentence, a deferred judgement is not a sentence, it is the absence of a sentence – no sentence has been imposed or suspended by definition it has been “deferred.” A deferred judgment is like a continuance with probation-like supervision conditions.

Summary And Conclusion – Bad News – A Colorado Deferred Judgment Is Not Technically A Probation Sentence

If a Colorado Defendant is in violation of a deferred judgement, and the deferred judgement is revoked, after the conviction is imposed, the term of regular probation usually starts again and the term of years is usually repeated.

Of course that term of probation can be the subject of negotiation with the State (plea bargaining) or as a result of an exercise of discretion by a Judge, but there exists no right to apply the time already served on the deferred judgement to the new term of “regular probation.”

Bad News – A Colorado Deferred Judgment Is Not Technically A Probation Sentence

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The reader is admonished that Colorado criminal law, like criminal law in every state and at the Federal level, changes constantly. The article appearing above was accurate at the time it was drafted but it cannot account for changes occurring after it was uploaded.

If, after reading this article, you have questions about your case and would like to consider retaining our law firm, we invite you to contact us at the Steinberg Colorado Criminal Defense Law Firm – 303-627-7777.

Never stop fighting – never stop believing in yourself and your right to due process of law. You will not be alone in court, H. Michael will be at your side every step of the way – advocating for justice and the best possible result in your case. H. Michael Steinberg is passionate about criminal defense. His extensive knowledge and experience of Colorado Criminal Law gives him the edge you need to properly handle your case

H. Michael Steinberg Best Colorado Criminal Defense LawyerABOUT THE AUTHOR: H. Michael Steinberg – Email The Author at:

hmsteinberg@hotmail.com

A Denver Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer – or call his office at 303-627-7777 during business hours – or call his cell if you cannot wait and need his immediate assistance – please call 720-220-2277.

“A good criminal defense lawyer is someone who devotes themselves to their client’s case from beginning to end, always realizing that this case is the most important thing in that client’s life.”

You should be careful to make a responsible choice in selecting a Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer. We encourage you to “vet” our firm. Over the last 30 plus years – by focusing ONLY on Colorado criminal law – H. Michael has had the necessary time to commit to the task of constantly updating himself on nearly every area of criminal law, to include Colorado criminal law and procedure and trial and courtroom practice. H. Michael works hard to get his clients the best possible results in and out of the courtroom. He has written, and continues to write, extensively on Colorado criminal law and he hopes this article helps you in some small way – Bad News – A Colorado Deferred Judgment Is Not Technically A Probation Sentence.

Summary
Bad News - A Colorado Deferred Judgment Is Not Technically A Probation Sentence
Article Name
Bad News - A Colorado Deferred Judgment Is Not Technically A Probation Sentence
Description
When a deferred judgement is revoked and regular probation is imposed, a new Colorado case holds that "credit" for the time spent on the deferred judgement is not required to be applied to the new term of probation.
Author

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___________________________
H. Michael Steinberg Esq.
Attorney and Counselor at Law
The Colorado Criminal Defense Law Firm of H. Michael Steinberg
A Denver, Colorado Lawyer Focused Exclusively On
Colorado Criminal Law For Over 30 Years.
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