Criminal Defense of Immigrants
§ 7.16 2. Deferred Judgment of Guilt
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The general rule is that a deferred adjudication of guilt, or similar state disposition, constitutes a “conviction” for immigration purposes if it meets the immigration-law definition, even if the state does not consider it to be a conviction for state-law purposes.
Where formal adjudication of guilt has been withheld, a conviction requires:
(a) A finding of guilt, which can be based upon:
(i) A guilty verdict after court trial, or
(ii) A guilty verdict after jury trial, or
(iii) Entry of a plea of guilty, or
(iv) Entry of a plea of nolo contendere, or
(v) An admission by the defendant of sufficient facts to warrant a finding of guilt, and
(b) Imposition of sentence, in which the court, as a result of the finding of guilt, orders some form of
(i) Punishment, or
(ii) Penalty, or
(iii) Restraint on the noncitizen’s liberty to be imposed.
If formal adjudication has been withheld, a conviction does not exist under this definition unless there is both (a) a finding of guilt based on one of the enumerated bases, plus (b) imposition of sentence which must include some form of punishment, penalty or restraint on liberty.
 D. Kesselbrenner & L. Rosenberg, Immigration Law and Crimes § 2:17 (2007).
 INA § 101(a)(48)(A), 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(48)(A), as enacted by IIRAIRA § 322(a)(1).
CONVICTION " PROBATION BEFORE JUDGMENT " MARYLAND
Yanez-Popp v. INS, 998 F.2d 231 (4th Cir.1993) (Maryland court's granting of probation without judgment, in which a plea of guilty is entered and then stricken during imposition of probation at sentence, constituted a conviction within the meaning of the immigration laws); see INA 101(a)(48)(A), 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(48)(A).
CONVICTION " DEFERRED ENTRY OF JUDGMENT " ARGUABLY NOT A CONVICTION
Retuta v. Holder, 591 F.3d 1181 (9th Cir. 2010) supports an argument that a California DEJ (deferred entry of judgment) disposition is not a conviction under INA 101(a)(48)(A), 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(48)(A), because there is no penalty or restraint, as long as either no fee or a fee that was suspended without condition (suspended "non -incarceratory fine") is imposed. There are questions as to what is the role of probation in DEJ and in INA 101(a)(48)(A). Thanks to Alisa Kaufman and Mario Acosta.