If you have been charged with a crime, you may have heard about “deferred adjudication” and are wondering what it means, how it works, and whether it would be beneficial for you. Basically, deferred adjudication is a form of probation. In Texas, probation is called “community supervision.” When you are involved in deferred adjudication, it allows you to avoid a conviction of the crime for which you have been charged. However, it does not remove that charge from your criminal record.
According to the Texas Courts, deferred adjudication “is a special form of judge-ordered community supervision (commonly known as “probation”) that permits a defendant to accept responsibility for a crime without an actual conviction being placed on the record. Only a judge can grant deferred adjudication, not a jury, so the prosecutor and defendant must agree to waive a jury trial.”
Under deferred adjudication, you will be allowed to stay out jail or prison while you are supervised by the court. If your offense was a misdemeanor, you will be under court supervision for up to two years. If your offense was a felony, the supervision can last for up to 10 years. You will be given a program to complete by the judge. The program may consist of various requirements depending on the nature of your offense and its circumstances. These requirements can include such things as getting or maintaining a job or going to school, completing a set number of community service hours, undergoing random drug testing, or other conditions.
In some cases, as part of your program, you may be required to spend a certain amount of time in jail. For misdemeanors, this may be up to 30 days. For a felony, it may be up to 180 days.
Once you complete all the requirements of your program, you will not have a conviction on your record for the offense that was deferred. However, all of the proceedings will still be accessible on your criminal record. To have them removed from public view, you will need an Order of Nondisclosure.
Eligibility for Deferred Adjudication
You may be eligible for deferred adjudication if you have been charged with a misdemeanor for any offense other than DWI.
If you are facing a felony charge, you may be eligible except under the following circumstances:
- Your charge involves DWI
- Your charge is for intoxication assault
- Your charge is for intoxication manslaughter
- You are facing a repeat drug crime that involves activity in a drug-free zone
- You are facing a repeat sex crime, such as sexual assault, or other sexually-related offense
Orders of Nondisclosure
In certain cases, you may be eligible to petition the court for an Order of Nondisclosure once you have completed all court requirements of your deferred supervision program. With a successful granting by the court, the records of your deferred adjudication cannot be made public. This means that you will not have to disclose the proceedings if asked by future employers or others and the records will not be available to them on a background check.
Disadvantages of Deferred Adjudication
In order to take advantage of a deferred adjudication, you will need to plead guilty or “no contest” to the offense you are facing. This plea allows the judge to defer your guilt in return for your admission into the probationary program. However, if you fail to comply with all of the terms of your probation, you can then face the full impact of being prosecuted for the crime that was deferred.
Discuss Your Options with a Trusted Legal Source
Deciding how to proceed in the face of a criminal charge requires that you fully understand all of the repercussions of your decisions. Having trusted guidance from an attorney who is experienced in handling criminal cases in your area is invaluable. At Sean Phelps, P.C., you can get trusted legal counsel from an attorney who is Board Certified as a Specialist in his field of criminal defense. Our firm brings decades of experience to your case and can provide the guidance you need from start to finish.
Reach out to us at (979) 773-7028 for legal help today.