Deferred Judgment in Iowa Defined
In Iowa, you may ask the court to grant you a deferred judgment at the time of your sentence. It is allowed in certain, and limited, 1st offense OWI cases.
A deferred judgment means that the Court does not impose the sentence mandated by Iowa law. You are granted a deferred judgment therefore there is no jail sentence nor is their a fine imposed. A civil penalty will be imposed against you in the same amount as the fine if you had not been given a deferred judgment. You may also be placed on probation for a period of time with rules to obey laws, etc.
If you complete all the terms of your probation, and you do what the judge ordered you to do, your record of conviction for OWI will be erased from the records. Keep reading.
Can I get a deferred?
Iowa law restricts this opportunity to limited cases. Use our free Consequences Program to find out if you are eligible. If you are, it is something you would request at sentencing. Please contact one of our OWIbuster.com lawyers. They know how to get you a deferred judgment.
Judges have the complete authority to grant you a deferred judgment if you are eligible. You must meet the qualifying factors to even be eligible.
If for example, you have a long history of traffic citations, a judge may decide that you have had too many prior problems and won’t grant you a deferred. You can’t appeal this. The judge gets to decide.
Iowa law allows for you to receive two deferred judgments in your lifetime. If you have already used one, the chances of a judge giving you another are slim. But you can always ask. If you have a criminal record, chances are the judge won’t grant you a deferred.
Will I be put on probation if I get a deferred?
Most likely. Call one of our OWIbuster.com lawyers. They will be able to advise you in this regard.
Keep in mind that if you receive a deferred and are placed on probation, conditions of probation will be imposed on you. Either the judge or your probation officer may set rules such as that you will not be allowed to enter bars, taverns, liquor stores, etc. You will probably be ordered to not consume alcohol. If you cannot deal with these restrictions, talk to your OWIbuster.com lawyer about other options.
If you think you can “get away” with drinking while on probation or violate some rule, you are not thinking. Chances are very good you will be caught and you will serve some time.
What happens if I successfully complete my probation?
The OWI charge will be wiped off your record. It will be “expunged”. However, if you pick up another OWI charge within 12 years, your first OWI with a deferred will show up and you will be charged with a 2nd OWI.
What happens if I screw up on my probation?
You will most likely be brought back to court and the court may take away the deferred judgment and impose the original sentence as allowed by law. Our consequences program will tell you what the punishment could be. You will lose your deferred judgment and now you have used one of the two you will be allowed to have in your life. With a probation revocation, the chances of you ever getting to use your 2nd deferred are ten thousand to one. You won’t get a second chance.
What advantage is there to getting a deferred judgment on my OWI charge in Iowa?
First off, you won’t have to go to jail. Furthermore, your record will be clean. Be mindful that your record will always show up that you were arrested and charged with OWI.
Will getting a deferred judgment help me in the future?
It won’t hurt you.
If a potential employer asks if you have ever been convicted of anything more serious than a simple traffic ticket, you may say “no”. If the potential employer asks have you ever been “charged” with any serious charges, then you would have to say “yes”. You will then have to explain what a deferred judgment is and that is not easy to do. Most civilians who do not understand this Iowa law. If you received a deferred and you tell an employer you have never been convicted of a serious charge, the boss may find out along the way that you were charged and perhaps pled guilty to an OWI. Then they will think you lied to them about this. The best practice would be to disclose the circumstances and hope they are understanding.
Does the judge have to grant me a deferred judgment?
No. Whether the court grants you a deferred judgment or not is entirely up to the sentencing judge. Judges have full discretion as to whether they will grant a request for a deferred judgment. If your request is denied, absent an error by the court such as the judge incorrectly determining that you are not eligible, there is nothing you can do if you are denied a deferred judgment. You would be well advised to contact one of our OWIbuster.com lawyers for representation. They know how to get you a deferred!