Deferred Disposition on Domestic Violence Cases
Even if a case isn’t winnable, many defendants are able to take advantage of a deferred disposition, a unique way to resolve certain types of cases. To be eligible, you must:
- Be an adult
- Have never had a domestic violence conviction
- Have never had another domestic violence case dismissed as a result of a domestic violence deferred disposition
- Plead guilty or otherwise be found guilty
- Agree to enter the program
While the actual terms are up to a judge’s discretion, people who enter the program are usually required to complete two years of probation. The first year is active, meaning a probation officer monitors you. The second year is inactive, meaning only a record check is run at the conclusion of the period. Additionally, you are required to take part in domestic violence and/or anger management counseling. If you complete all required counseling and probation successfully, the case is dismissed at the end of two years. Cases dismissed in this manner are not eligible for expungement, meaning the arrest will remain on your criminal record. However, the record will not show a conviction. That is a huge distinction. It means that whenever a job or school application asks about convictions, people who have successfully completed the program can honestly answer that they have never been convicted of a crime.
The program is commonly referred to as a 57.3 disposition, after section 18.2-57.3 of the Virginia Code. Typically, under Virginia law, convictions remain on your criminal record for life. However, the deferred disposition allows guilty individuals to avoid this, so it is a good result for guilty parties in certain situations. However, it is a terrible result if a better result, like being found not guilty is possible. If a better resolution is possible, every effort should be made to avoid a deferred disposition. An experienced Fairfax domestic violence lawyer is able to tell whether a 57.3 deferred disposition is a good result, based on the facts of your case. Faraji Rosenthall has handled hundreds of Fairfax domestic violence cases. If you have a case pending in Fairfax, call today for a free consultation.