VPLC Supports HB 1851 as Closing a Loophole Available to 1st Offense Domestic Violence Abusers Who Have Benefited from Deferred Sentencing Provisions

§18.2-57.3 is the deferred sentencing provision available to first-time domestic violence abusers. It is only available to first-time offenders over 18 years of age who acknowledge that the Commonwealth of Virginia has enough evidence to convict him/her of “simple assault” (violation of §18.2-57) or “Assault Against a Family or Household Member” (§18.2-57.2). Deferred sentencing allows a first-time offender to avoid having a conviction on his/her record in exchange for abiding by terms or conditions of probation.

HB 1851 would prevent a defendant who violates terms or conditions of his/her deferred sentencing from being able to return to court to ask for an appeal of the underlying conviction that is being deferred in order to avoid a conviction of the probation violation. It requires the defendant to waive his/her right of appeal after the 10-day appeal period has expired in exchange for the benefits of deferred sentencing, namely, avoiding a conviction of Assault or Assault of a Family or Household Member. Pertinent language states:

“Any person placed on probation pursuant to this section who is subsequently adjudicated guilty upon a violation of a term or condition of his probation shall have no right of appeal on such adjudication.”

VPLC supports HB 1851 as a bill that supports victim safety and holds offenders accountable for their crimes.