Deferred Sentence Law & Legal Definition


A deferred sentence refers to a postponed, or delayed sentence in a criminal matter. In a deferred sentence, the court gives a defendant an opportunity to complete a probationary period before sentencing. If the defendant successfully completes probation (usually not longer than 2 years), at the conclusion of the probationary period the court will review the defendant’s file and may dismiss the charges against him/her. If, however, the defendant does not follow all of the terms and conditions of probation the court may enter the conviction and sentence the defendant accordingly.

Depending on the jurisdiction, a person may or may not have a permanent record of the crime on their criminal record after a successful completion of the probationary period and subsequent dismissal of the charges.