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How deferment benefits juvenile offenders

On Behalf of | Mar 28, 2024 | Juvenile Charges

Deferment is a second chance program offered in juvenile court. Deferment is also known as deferred adjudication or deferred prosecution.

In a typical deferment, the juvenile agrees to plead guilty or no contest to the charges. The judge postpones issuing a formal finding of guilt and assigns the youth a period of probation. Following probation, the court dismisses charges and seals the record or expunges the arrest and adjudication. Juveniles can benefit from deferment in several significant ways.

Preserve future opportunities

A criminal record can be a major barrier to education, employment and housing. Deferment, if successfully completed, prevents a conviction from appearing on a record. This opens doors to a wider range of educational opportunities, improves job prospects and allows for easier access to safe and affordable housing.

Promote rehabilitation

Deferment programs often involve probation with conditions focused on rehabilitation. This can include counseling to address underlying issues, community service to give back and make amends and educational programs to develop positive decision-making skills. Deferment creates a structured framework for growth and change.

Reduce the risk of recidivism

Harsh punishments often lead to feelings of resentment and a disconnect from the justice system. This can lead to a higher risk of criminal behavior in the future. Deferment focuses on rehabilitation and fosters accountability while encouraging positive change. This reduces the risk of repeat offenses, allowing juveniles to become productive members of society.

Provide a second chance

Making a mistake should not label a youth a criminal forever. Deferment recognizes that juveniles are still developing and can learn from their actions. It provides a chance to make amends, demonstrate rehabilitation and move forward with a clean slate.

Deferment is not a free pass, but a valuable tool for rehabilitation and a brighter future. By allowing juveniles to learn from their mistakes and demonstrate growth, deferment programs offer a path toward becoming responsible and productive adults.