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Deferred Sentences and Suspended Sentences in Oklahoma

Even with the best available defense, it is not always possible for an individual have his or her Oklahoma criminal charges dismissed or for the jury to render a verdict of not ...

Even with the best available defense, it is not always possible for an individual have his or her Oklahoma criminal charges dismissed or for the jury to render a verdict of not guilty.  In these instances, Oklahoma defense lawyers work with their clients and prosecutors to reach a plea agreement or to negotiate sentencing options that will allow the best possible outcome for the individual charged.  For many first-offenders, a plea that will allow a deferred sentence or a suspended sentence is often an acceptable solution.

While the terms “deferred sentence” and “suspended sentence” are often used synonymously in many states, under Oklahoma law, the two are separate and distinct sentencing options.  A deferred sentence is one in which the defendant enters a plea of guilt or no contest.  However, the judge does not accept the plea.  Rather, he or she defers, or postpones, sentencing until a set of terms and requirements is completed.  The terms of a deferred sentence may include restitution, treatment programs, community service, and remaining free from additional criminal activity.  If the defendant successfully complies with the conditions of the deferred sentence, he or she may be able to withdraw the previously entered plea and have his or her record expunged under Title 22 O.S. §991c of the Oklahoma Statutes.  The case will be dismissed and the record will be sealed from public view.  Because the plea is withdrawn upon successful completion of a deferred sentence, the individual charged is not convicted of the crime.

In a suspended sentence, unlike a deferred sentence, the defendant is actually convicted of a crime.  The judge does not postpone the acceptance of a plea; rather, the plea is accepted and a sentence is set.   All or part of the sentence may be suspended.  A suspended sentence is postponed pending the convicted person’s compliance with a set of conditions to be determined by the sentencing judge.  If the conditions of the suspended sentence are fully met by the individual convicted of the crime, any portion of the sentence that was suspended does not have to be served.  In many cases, individuals successfully complying with the terms of a suspended sentence may also be eligible for Oklahoma expungement.

In the case of both deferred sentences and suspended sentences in Oklahoma, failure to adhere to the terms of the deferment or suspension will result in the individual having to complete his or her full jail sentence.   However, for first-offenders who show little to no risk of re-offending, deferred and suspended sentences are a good outcome to a difficult situation.  Under an Oklahoma deferred sentence or suspended sentence, the person charged with the crime is able to maintain many of his or her freedoms and avoid jail time.  Additionally, with the help of an experienced Oklahoma expungement lawyer, the charged or convicted individual may be able to have his or her record clearedHealth Fitness Articles, protecting education and employment opportunities and avoiding the social stigma of a criminal conviction.

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