In the previous piece about decoding criminal case dispositions, we listed the most common dispositions (e.g., guilty, not guilty, dismissal, not prosecuted). Here is a list of less common criminal case dispositions, some of which may be only found in one jurisdiction:
Suspended Sentence: This means the court has delayed the sentencing for an offense pending the successful completion of a period of probation or successful completion of a treatment program. If the defendant does not break the law during that period and fulfills the conditions of the probation, the judge usually reduces the degree of the offense or may dismiss the case entirely. Until the sentence is reduced or dismissed, the case is considered pending.
Diversion/Deferred Prosecution: The court has delayed prosecution pending the successful completion of probation conditions, at which point the charges will be dismissed. Until charges are dismissed, they remain pending.
Adjudication Withheld: The judge orders probation but does not formally convict the defendant of a criminal offense.
Probation Before Judgment: In Maryland, probation before judgment (PBJ) is one type of disposition in a criminal case. For a defendant to receive a PBJ as a disposition, the defendant must make a plea of guilty; however, the court stays the finding of guilt and places the defendant on probation. If the defendant satisfactorily completes the probation terms, the guilty plea is stricken. PBJ is not a conviction in Maryland.
Stet Docket: The prosecutor may place the case on the stet docket. This is an indefinite postponement of a criminal case for up to three years. It is not a conviction. In Illinois, it is called “stricken off leave.”
ARD Program: Common in Pennsylvania, it stands for “Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition Program.” This program is given to the defendant in place of adjudication. If the defendant completes the program, the case is closed.
Conditional Discharge: In New York, a conditional discharge is part of a sentence. When the judge sentences the defendant to a conditional discharge, the judge will indicate the conditions that the defendant must meet for the sentence to be successfully completed.
In New Jersey, a conditional discharge is a type of diversionary treatment program offered to individuals charged with a disorderly person’s offense involving controlled dangerous substances (e.g., heroin, Xanax, Oxycontin, or drug paraphernalia). Upon completion of the terms and conditions of the treatment program, the treatment is terminated and the proceedings against the defendant are dismissed.