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Lakers' Jordan Hill takes agreement in domestic violence case

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Domestic violence charges can come with heavy consequences. A conviction can result in fines, jail time and other post-sentence aftermath such as parole and damage to reputation. Sometimes, even mere allegations are enough to create a negative effect for the accused. This is particularly true when domestic violence charges involve a well-known public figure. This is precisely the predicament L.A. Lakers player Jordan Hill is experiencing at this very moment at a Harris, Texas county court case.

This past winter, Hill was charged with felony domestic violence for an incident which allegedly occurred with his girlfriend a month earlier. According to the girlfriend, Hill physically assaulted her, leaving bruises on her body and further attempted to choke her. The incident took place in late February, however, according to sources the girlfriend did not file a police report until one month later.

Some eight months later, Hill has struck a plea agreement with prosecutors. According to an employee at the Harris County Courthouse, Hill plead no contest to the charges. As a result of his agreement not to contest the charges, Hill has received a sentence deferment. This means that if Hill does not experience any altercations with the law for one year, the judge will vacate the sentence, without the charge ever having made a mark on his criminal record. Hill was also ordered to pay a $5,000 fine.

A sentence deferment is an ideal element to a plea agreement, right underneath dropping the charges altogether. In a sentence deferment in Texas, a judge will hold a certain sentence over the accused's head for a certain period of time. Defending on the terms of the deferment, the accused must either not have any charges which relate to the charge at issue, or have any charges at all, for a certain period. If this occurs, then the judge will vacate the sentence. Because the sentence was never actually imposed on the individual, it never effects his or her criminal record. While this is an ideal outcome for Hill, he still faces the negative consequences involving damage to his reputation.

As a public figure, Hill's charges have become well-known. Perhaps the case outcome will ease some judgment however. Ultimately, a vigorous criminal defense will work to reduce or eliminate a sentence. However, the effects even an accusation has on one's reputation is often outside of a criminal law attorney's power to erase.

Source: The Urban Daily, "L.A. Laker Jordan Hill Strikes Plea Deal in Domestic Violence Case," Jonathan Hailey, September 27, 2012.

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