In Texas, deferred adjudication is a sentencing alternative in some criminal
cases—often offered to first-time offenders. Through a deferred
adjudication, a criminal defendant may be able to avoid conviction on
his/her criminal record by sealing it with a non-disclosure.
Elements of Texas Deferred Adjudication
Under Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, article 42.12, Section 5(a), when
a person is charged with a crime that is eligible for deferred adjudication,
he/she enters a guilty plea in court. Once a guilty plea is entered, the
judge issues an order deferring judgment in the case, rather than finding
the defendant guilty.
Instead of going to jail or prison as punishment, the judge sentences the
defendant to a term of probation, also known as community supervision
in Texas. If the defendant successfully completes the term of probation
ordered by the court, the crime can be sealed from public view. By contrast,
if the defendant fails to successfully complete the court-ordered term
of probation, he/she automatically will be convicted of the underlying
crime, which can potentially result in the maximum sentence permitted
under state law.
Eligibility for Deferred Adjudication
According to Texas law, virtually any crime is eligible for deferred adjudication.
However, there are several offenses where defendants are barred by law
from receiving it.
The following are the only crimes that cannot receive deferred adjudication in Texas:
The decision to impose deferred adjudication is made according to a case-by-case
basis. Factors that are taken into consideration when making a decision
include the criminal history of the defendant, the seriousness of the
crime, whether violence was involved, and whether anyone suffered any
injuries derived from the crime.
The Advantages of a Deferred Adjudication
The main benefit of receiving deferred adjudication is avoiding a criminal
conviction. While some employers do ask about deferred adjudications,
many don’t. Simply put, if an individual has a deferred adjudication
and successfully finished it, that person can lawfully claim that he/she
has not been convicted of a criminal offense.
If you are interested in sealing your criminal record in Texas,
contact our Bryan and College Station criminal defense attorney at
The Law Office of Shane Phelps, P.C. today.