What is the difference between receiving a deferred sentence and receiving a suspended sentence in Oklahoma?
Deferred Sentence vs. Suspended Sentence – Deferred is generally not a conviction. Suspended is a conviction.
Note: If you have a CDL then stop reading now because the State of Oklahoma treats you like a completely different person, and the rest of this does not apply to you. The State of Oklahoma treats you like a second-rate citizen and applies the law differently to you than it does to anybody else who does not have a CDL. Im sorry, but I didn’t make the ridiculous rules. You can thank your state and federal legislators.
Continuing on with the answer for class D license holders.
Deferred Sentence: The way a deferred sentence works is like this—you enter a plea of guilty or no contest to the court, and the judge accepts your plea and defers (or postpones) sentencing for a specified period of time. (Let’s assume 1 year deferred sentence for this article.) During your term of probation, the court will impose certain requirements and restrictions on you known as “rules and conditions of probation.” Typically these include some combination of the following:
- paying fines, court costs, and other fees;
- performing certain classes like a Drug & Alcohol Assessment, DUI School, and Victim Impact Panels (if your charge is alcohol or drug related);
- Performing community service hours;
- Not committing any new crimes;
- Not possessing or using alcohol or drugs;
- Not going into bars;
- Not going into casinos (Delaware & Ottawa County requires this); and
- Not possessing guns.
You come back at the end of your probation year, and, when the judge determines you did all you were supposed to do, he will allow you to withdraw your plea and will dismiss your case and expunge your public record—Not necessarily your law enforcement record! (More to come on this in a future post on wardandlee.com.) This will be the end of your case, and you will not be “convicted” for this crime. On job applications you are safe to say you have not been convicted of a crime because a deferred is not a conviction. It’s your chance to keep your record clean.
But Josh, there is always a catch right? Yes. Deferred sentences can run up to 10 years in length. If you get in trouble while on your probation, you have already pled guilty and that plea has been accepted by the court. So, if you violate the terms and conditions of your probation you can be sentenced up to the maximum range of punishment for your particular crime, not just for the one-year term of your deferment. That is why it is important to know the maximum range of punishment for each crime you are charged with. A good lawyer will make sure you understand your maximum range of punishment.
Example: You plead to a felony charge of Possession of CDS that carries up to 10 years in prison. You are given a 1 year deferred sentence. During that year you get in trouble. You are subject to possible punishment up to the maximum of 10 years, not just one year. This is different than a suspended sentence.
Suspended Sentence: With a suspended you are being sentenced to time in jail or prison, but the court is suspending that time and not making you actually serve it, as long as you follow the rules and conditions of your probation (as described above). With a suspended you are only subject to going to jail for the amount of years that you pled to, not the maximum range, as is the case with a deferred sentence.
Example: You plead to a felony charge of Possession of CDS that carries up to 10 years in prison. You are given a 3 year suspended sentence. During those 3 years you get in trouble. You are subject to possible punishment up to 3 years, not the maximum. This is different than a deferred sentence.