Iowa law permits judges to exercise discretion in sentencing. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you could qualify for alternative sentencing. Some sentencing alternatives include a deferred judgment, deferred prosecution, probation, or a suspended sentence. Specific criteria apply in each of these sentencing alternatives.
Not everyone is eligible to receive a deferred judgment, but it can provide the defendant an opportunity to avoid having a conviction on his or her record. To obtain a complete discharge, the defendant must successfully complete all requirements of probation under the terms of the deferred judgment order.
Deferred judgments are available for many misdemeanor offenses, as well as certain felonies. If the crime is a forcible felony, such as robbery, kidnapping or murder, a deferred judgment is not an option. Other specified criminal offenses, including a second or subsequent offense of operating while intoxicated, and some types of domestic abuse, do not qualify for deferred judgments. In addition, having a prior felony conviction prevents a defendant from qualifying, and one can receive no more than two deferred judgments in a lifetime.
Each case is different and it is critical that you consult an experience defense attorney regarding your representation in criminal court. Contact McKelvie Law Office to discuss the options available in your case.