West Virginia Legislature
2016 Regular Session
House Bill 2494
(By Delegates Weld, Fast, Sponaugle, Skinner and Shott)
[Passed March 12, 2016; in effect ninety days from passage.]
AN ACT to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new section, designated §61-11-22a, relating to codifying deferred adjudication process for persons charged with felony and misdemeanor offenses in circuit and magistrate court; authorizing courts, upon motion, to defer acceptance and adjudication of entered guilty pleas for certain periods based upon severity of offense; authorizing court to impose such conditions and terms as it deems just and necessary as a condition of participation; authorizing periods of incarceration and participation in referenced programs as conditions of participation in the deferred adjudication process; authorizing acceptance of previously entered guilty plea upon violation of the terms and conditions of deferral; authorizing court to impose additional terms and conditions upon defendant if violation occurs; and clarifying that procedure hereby authorized is distinct from conditional plea under Rule 11(a)(2) of the West Virginia Rules of Criminal Procedure.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended, by adding thereto a new section, designated §61-11-22a to read as follows:
Chapter 61. Crimes and their punishment.
ARTICLE 11. GENERAL PROVISIONS CONCERNING CRIMES.
§61-11-22a. Deferred adjudication.
(a) Upon the entry of a guilty plea to a felony or misdemeanor before a circuit or magistrate court of this state entered in compliance with the provisions of West Virginia Rule of Criminal Procedure 11 or Rule 10 of the West Virginia Rules of Criminal Procedure for Magistrate Courts and applicable judicial decisions, the court may, upon motion, defer acceptance of the guilty plea and defer further adjudication thereon and release the defendant upon such terms and conditions as the court deems just and necessary. Terms and conditions may include, but are not limited to, periods of incarceration, drug and alcohol treatment, counseling and participation in programs offered under articles eleven-a, eleven-b and eleven-c, chapter sixty-two of this code.
(b) If the offense to which the plea of guilty is entered is a felony, the circuit court may defer adjudication for a period not to exceed three years. If the offense to which the plea of guilty is entered is a misdemeanor, the court may defer adjudication for a period not to exceed two years.
(c) If the defendant complies with the court-imposed terms and conditions he or she shall be permitted to withdraw his or her plea of guilty and the matter dismissed or, as may be agreed upon by the court and the parties, enter a plea of guilty or no contest to a lesser offense.
(d) In the event the defendant is alleged to have violated the terms and conditions imposed upon him or her by the court during the period of deferral the prosecuting attorney may file a motion to accept the defendant’s plea of guilty and, following notice, a hearing shall be held on the matter.
(e) In the event the court determines that there is reasonable cause to believe that the defendant violated the terms and conditions imposed at the time the plea was entered, the court may accept the defendant’s plea to the original offense and impose a sentence in the court’s discretion in accordance with the statutory penalty of the offense to which the plea of guilty was entered or impose such other terms and conditions as the court deems appropriate.
(f) The procedures set forth in this section are separate and distinct from that set forth in West Virginia Rule of Criminal Procedure 11(a)(2).