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First offender act in Georgia it a conditional discharge or a deffered judgement?

Woodstock, GA |

Deffered adjudication, conditional discharge , deffered judgement they all seem the same to me when i read the definitions but it seem that each state has a name for it .Can anyone please explain ? Thank you .

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Attorney answers 2


Deferred adjudication = deferred judgment (that is what "adjudication" means). A conditional discharge would be, logically, a discharge (of a sentence) on fulfillment of conditions precedent. The label given to it is irrelevant.

O.C.G.A. 42-8-60 is the governing law:

"(a) Upon a verdict or plea of guilty or a plea of nolo contendere, but before an adjudication of guilt, in the case of a defendant who has not been previously convicted of a felony, the court may, without entering a judgment of guilt and with the consent of the defendant:

(1) Defer further proceeding and place the defendant on probation as provided by law; or

(2) Sentence the defendant to a term of confinement as provided by law.

(b) Upon violation by the defendant of the terms of probation, upon a conviction for another crime during the period of probation, or upon the court determining that the defendant is or was not eligible for sentencing under this article, the court may enter an adjudication of guilt and proceed as otherwise provided by law. No person may avail himself or herself of this article on more than one occasion.

(c) The court shall not sentence a defendant under the provisions of this article and, if sentenced under the provisions of this article, shall not discharge the defendant upon completion of the sentence unless the court has reviewed the defendant's criminal record as such is on file with the Georgia Crime Information Center.

(d) The court shall not sentence a defendant under the provisions of this article who has been found guilty of or entered a plea of guilty or a plea of nolo contendere for:

(1) A serious violent felony as such term is defined in Code Section 17-10-6.1;

(2) A sexual offense as such term is defined in Code Section 17-10-6.2;

(3) Sexual exploitation of a minor as defined in Code Section 16-12-100;

(4) Electronically furnishing obscene material to a minor as defined in Code Section 16-12-100.1; or

(5) Computer pornography and child exploitation, as defined in Code Section 16-12-100.2."

The plea is done BEFORE adjudication, so completing it is at least the first and third option you provided, but it is also the second thing (since a completion of the probated conditions directed by the Court IS a discharge).

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Georgia's First Offender Act (O.C.G.A. Section 42-8-60, et seq.) and the conditional discharge statute (O.C.G.A. Section 16-13-2) are both considered deferred adjudication/judgment statutes, because they allow the defendant an opportunity to successfully complete the sentence imposed for the criminal conduct without an adjudication of guilt, and thereafter, the charge(s) will be dismissed. The former applies to all but certain serious crimes, and the latter applies only to drug charges, and both have different requirements. However, the "deferred" and "conditional" descriptions refer to the conviction that will be imposed if the sentence is not completed by the defendant successfully.

Joshua Sabert Lowther, Esq.