2020 New Mexico Statutes
Chapter 31 - Criminal Procedure
Article 20 - Sentencing
Section 31-20-9 - Completion of total term of deferment.

Universal Citation: NM Stat § 31-20-9 (2020)

Whenever the period of deferment expires, the defendant is relieved of any obligations imposed on him by the order of the court and has satisfied his criminal liability for the crime, the court shall enter a dismissal of the criminal charges.

History: 1953 Comp., § 40A-29-22, enacted by Laws 1963, ch. 303, § 29-22; and recompiled as 1953 Comp., § 40A-29-45, by Laws 1977, ch. 216, § 16.


Difference between suspension and deferral is that suspension involves a sentence imposed while deferral does not. With suspension, the sentence having been imposed, the court cannot later alter the sentence upwards. With deferral, no sentence having been imposed, the court may give any sentence it could originally have given. State v. Kenneman, 98 N.M. 794, 653 P.2d 170 (Ct. App.), cert. denied, 99 N.M. 47, 653 P.2d 878 (1982).

Legislature authorized to define court's jurisdiction over sentencing. — It is within the power of the legislature alone to define the court's jurisdiction over the sentencing of offenders. State v. Travarez, 99 N.M. 309, 657 P.2d 636 (Ct. App. 1983).

Court lacks jurisdiction in probation revocation matter when period of deferred sentence expires. — This section relieves the defendant of any obligations imposed on him by order of the court when the period of his deferred sentence expires, and he is deemed then to have satisfied his liability for the crime. The trial court thereafter lacks jurisdiction to proceed in a probation revocation matter. State v. Travarez, 99 N.M. 309, 657 P.2d 636 (Ct. App. 1983).

Prior conviction, not prior sentence, is dispositive for repeat offender status. — Where defendant was convicted of drug charges in New Mexico; the New Mexico court deferred defendant's sentence for a two-year probationary period; the deferred sentence was a final judgment subject to appeal; and after defendant successfully completed the probation, defendant was entitled to have the New Mexico charges dismissed, the deferred sentence was a prior conviction for purposes of sentence enhancement. United States v. Meraz, 998 F.2d 182 (10th Cir. 1993).

Sex offender registration. — When a deferred sentence expires and charges are dismissed, a conviction is not eradicated: thus, a defendant convicted under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, Sections 29-11A-1 to 29-11A-8 NMSA 1978, is still subject to the registration requirements of that act. State v. Brothers, 2002-NMCA-110, 133 N.M. 36, 59 P.3d 1268, cert. denied, 133 N.M. 30, 59 P.3d 1262 (2002).

Restoration of right to vote. — A person seeking restoration of franchise after a suspended sentence must go to the governor for relief, but a dismissal order under this section is intended to restore the right to vote automatically. 1973 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 73-44.

Restoration of firearms privileges. — A defendant who receives a deferred sentence is not subject to the criminal sanctions imposed by Section 30-7-16 NMSA 1978, governing receipt, transportation or possession of firearms by felons. Firearms privileges are automatically restored when a person successfully completes the period of a deferred sentence. 1988 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 88-03.

Am. Jur. 2d, A.L.R. and C.J.S. references. — Pardoned or expunged conviction as "prior offense" under state statute or regulation enhancing punishment for subsequent conviction, 97 A.L.R.5th 293.

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