Alternatives to Conviction: Deferred Adjudication as a Way of Avoiding Collateral Consequences
11 Pages Posted: 14 Mar 2010
Date Written: February 2, 2010
The courts in many states have authority to give criminal defendants who are otherwise appropriate for a probationary sentence a chance to avoid a conviction record. Deferred adjudication programs that include the possibility of expungement have proven an efficient and effective way of dealing with defendants who are ready to change their behavior. Particularly now that the collateral consequences of conviction have become so numerous and severe, making it harder than ever for people with a criminal record to establish themselves as law-abiding members of the community, it seems appropriate to make full use of this sort of authority. In the federal system, which offers such limited opportunities for relief from collateral consequences, it would be sensible to give defendants, in appropriate cases, a chance to avoid them in the first place to improve the chances of their rehabilitation. Accordingly, the Sentencing Commission should consider proposing to Congress that it expand deferred adjudication as a sentencing option to improve public safety outcomes, while at the same time enhancing the efficiency and fairness of the justice system.
Keywords: Collateral Consequences, Sentencing
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation