Two San Diego men have been charged in connection with theft of government property. According to reports, the two men worked for the Department of Veterans Affairs (“the VA”) and took advantage of agency-issued credit cards.
Rather than using the cards to purchase items for the VA, the men bought personal items valued at $23,000 for themselves. Some of those items were later sold for a profit. The men also reportedly helped other VA employees purchase items illegally on the agency’s tab. One of the men, Trait Beau Tres, has pleaded guilty to the criminal charges. In exchange for his plea, he received a deferred entry of judgment.
What is Deferred Entry of Judgment?
Deferred judgment, or deferred adjudication, is basically a plea deal. You agree to enter a guilty plea for criminal charges filed against you. However, the state holds off on entering a final judgment in your case. You are given the opportunity to complete supervised probation. If you can successfully complete the terms of your probation in the time given, the court will dismiss your criminal case. As a result, deferred judgment allows you to avoid a criminal conviction.
When is Deferred Judgment Offered?
Deferred judgment is used as a tool to help rehabilitate certain criminal offenders. It is most typically used in response to drug-related crimes. State prosecutors will review your case and determine if you are a good candidate for rehabilitation. You may be a good candidate for deferred judgment if you:
- Don’t have a history of criminal conduct
- Have been charged with a relatively minor and non-violent crime, or
- Have are facing drug-related criminal charges.
If the state thinks that you can benefit from rehabilitative measures, it can recommend the Deferred Entry of Judgment in your case.
Who is Eligible for Deferred Judgment?
Some states limit deferred judgment programs for first-time offenders. California, however, does permit certain repeat offenders to take advantage of the arrangement. You may qualify for deferred entry of judgment if:
- You haven’t been convicted of a drug crime in the past;
- You have been charged with a non-violent offense;
- Parole or probation haven’t been revoked in the past;
- You haven’t been convicted of a felony within the past 5 years; and
- You haven’t been granted diversion or deferred entry of judgment within the past 5 years.
What Happens When I Agree to Deferred Entry of Judgment?
Deferred entry of judgment, which is also known as the PC 1000 program, is voluntary. The state cannot force you to plead guilty to a crime. However, the deferred entry of judgment program is a great opportunity. While you will have to enter a plea of guilty, you can avoid harsh penalties and a mark on your criminal record.
When you enter your plea of guilty, the state will defer entry of judgment in your case. You will be required to complete supervised probation. While on probation, you will be required to do and complete certain things, including:
- Community service hours
- Mandatory counseling
- Drug treatment programs, and/or
The terms of your probation will be specifically designed to rehabilitate you.
Final Consequences of Deferred Judgment
What happens after you agree to a deferred entry of judgment is up to you. Your future will depend on whether or not you satisfactorily complete the terms of your probation.
Satisfactory Completion of Probation: If the court is satisfied that you have completed the terms of your probation, it will dismiss the criminal case against you. You will not face additional penalties or see a conviction on your criminal record.
Failure to Complete Probation: If the court is not satisfied that you have completed the terms of your probation, it has the authority to accept your guilty plea. When this happens, you are vulnerable to any of the criminal penalties associated with your specific crime.
San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney
Are you facing criminal charges in San Diego? Contact the Law Offices of Vikas Bajaj, APC for immediate legal assistance. Our criminal defense attorneys have over 16 years of experience handling all complex criminal matters in San Diego. We will fight to make sure your future is protected. Call us today to schedule your free consultation and learn more.