American Judges Association

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Washington County’s Domestic Violence Deferred Sentencing [DVDS] program allows eligible persons who have been charged with domestic violence misdemeanors to avoid conviction by successfully participating in the program.  To participate in the DVDS program, the person must enter a guilty plea at their arraignment and submit to an evaluation for domestic violence treatment.  They must successfully complete whatever treatment is recommended including, batterer’s specific treatment, anger control counseling, and alcohol or substance abuse treatment.  If the  person  satisfactorily completes treatment and complies with all terms of the DVDS Program, the charges are permanently dismissed after one year.  Participation in the DVDS Program is a privilege and may be exercised only once.  

Persons are eligible for the program if: 

  1. They are charged with a domestic violence crime

  2. They have not participated in a domestic deferred sentencing before and are not currently participating in the program

  3. There is not a pending case involving an allegation of harassment, a weapons offense, or a “person” crime, which includes assault, menacing and other offenses

  4. The incident did not involve a dangerous or deadly weapon or substantial physical injury to the victim

  5. The incident did not involve more than one victim or other non-domestic violence related crime or crimes  

  6. There are no person crime convictions or convictions for harassment or weapon offenses within the past 10 years

  7. There are no more than three non-traffic convictions

  8. The party may not have been revoked from probation or parole

  9. There is no allegation of violation of release on the charge

  10. There may not be a Family Abuse Prevention Act Restraining  Order  active at the time of arrest, nor can there be a prior or pending allegation of violation of that order

  11. There may be no history of repeated domestic violence

  12. There are no holds from other jurisdictions        

Prior to an arraignment, the district attorney reviews the police reports and criminal history of the case to determine whether a defendant is eligible for the DVDS Program.  At the arraignment hearing, the District Attorney advises the Court whether the defendant qualities for the program.  

At arraignment, the defendant is provided a copy of the police reports, and given an immediate opportunity to consult with an attorney.  As the decision to enter the DVDS Program must be made at the time of arraignment, eligible persons must either plead guilty to enter the program, or decline the program in writing.  

The DVDS Program is administered through the Washington County Community Corrections.  Defendant’s who enter the program are required to report to the Probation Department immediately, and must provide the Probation Officer [P.O.] with a copy of the police report.  The P.O. will immediately inform the victim that the defendant is not allowed contact with them until they have satisfactorily completed 12 treatment sessions in the program.  If requested by the victim, the no contact provision may continue after 12 weeks.  

If the defendant complies with all terms of the DVDS Program and all Court orders during it’s pendency, the case will be dismissed after one year.  A violation of any term of the DVDS Program may result in revocation from the program.  If revoked, the person would be sentenced on the subject charge.  

In addition to all recommended treatment, requirements of the DVDS program include:  no contact with the victim, urinalysis testing, paying all financial obligations, and complying with all terms of the Deferred Sentencing Agreement to the satisfaction of the Court.  

To enter the Program a Defendant must sign a DVDS Agreement.  It includes a plea petition to the offense, a waiver of the right to trial, and the defendant’s promises to comply with all of the requirements of the program.  Instructions as to the immediate responsibility of the party are give at arraignment. 

A defendant must advise the Court, the Probation Office, and all  treatment providers of their current address and telephone number and must immediately notify the above of any changes.

Upon leaving the Courtroom, the defendant must IMMEDIATELY  report to the Probation Department.  Agreements with the Probation officer regarding a contact schedule, selection of a treatment provider, and orientation are required at this intake appointment.          

The Court is kept informed of the parties progress in the program by the Probation Office. The Probation Officer has the authority to make contact with family, friends, employers, treatment providers, and significant others, to monitor the compliance of the party in the program.  A report is submitted to the court for consideration on what action is warranted.  Depending on the severity of the violation, a show cause hearing or warrant will be ordered by the court.  

If the defendant elects not to participate to the DVDS Program, they must sign a form declining the program at their arraignment.  There is no second opportunity to participate in the program. 

If a defendant declines the program and enters a plea of Not Guilty, the case will be scheduled for trial at arraignment.  If defendant is in custody, the trial will be set in approximately 21day and, if out of custody, trial will be set in approximately 35 days.  Domestic violence cases are set for trial on a fast track schedule and the dates given for trial are considered as dates certain. (No resets) No Pretrial Conference is set for these cases.    





For more information contact:

American Judges Association
P.O. Box 8798
Williamsburg, VA  23187-8798
(757) 259-1841
(757) 259-1520 - fax

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