What is a Withheld Judgment?
In Idaho, a Withheld Judgment is a case resolution whereby the court never enters an Order of Conviction - they "withhold" - meaning the defendant is never actually convicted of the crime. This occurs during the sentencing phase of the case - after the defendant has entered a guilty plea. It is up to the court (judge) to determine if a Withheld Judgment should be granted. If the court chooses to grant the Withheld Judgment, in most ways the case then proceeds exactly as if a conviction had been entered in the case - it is not a get out of jail free card - the punishment will be the same as if an Order of Conviction had been entered (i.e. jail, fines, probation, classes, etc). However, after you have successfully completed the ordered punishment, you can then ask the court to dismiss your case retroactively. The true advantage to a Withheld Judgment is that it allows you to honestly say that you have not been convicted of a crime, as no order of conviction is ever entered.
However, there is a downside. As the ability to have the case dismissed and honestly say you have never been convicted of a crime is the carrot, a Withheld Judgment also has a "stick" if you fail to live up to the court's expectations. If you violate your probation or fail to complete the ordered punishment, because no Order of Conviction was ever entered the court can re-sentence you in the case up to the maximum available punishment under the law. This is no small penalty as you will now be facing a judge who is not likely to be very happy with you.
Don't Forget To Have The Case Dismissed
A large percentage of the people who use a Withheld Judgment never take full advantage of the opportunity they have been provided. The case is not automatically dismissed after probation or the punishment is complete - you must file a motion for this to take place. Many people, if not most, forget to take this step.
If you would like to speak to us about having your Withheld Judgment dismissed contact us today. This is a relatively easy process and is quite a bit cheaper than most people think it is going to be.
In Idaho, you get one lifetime Withheld Judgment
ONE. The decision on whether to use a Withheld Judgment should be carefully considered.