Deferred Adjudication

By Brock Benjamin
Founding Attorney

Deferred adjudication is a type of probation or, as it is called in Texas, community supervision. With deferred adjudication, your case will be dismissed and you may have your criminal record sealed from private entities. This means that, if the conditions of deferred adjudication are
met, the criminal offense will not be accessible to people accessing your records such as potential employers. Deferred adjudication may be a good option for you, but be sure you know your rights and obligations beforehand.

What is Deferred Adjudication?

With deferred adjudication, a defendant is placed on community supervision for a set period of time. Community supervision means that instead of time spent in jail or prison, you will stay in the community while being supervised by the court. The judge will set the length of the community supervision and will likely impose other requirements. The court may require drug testing or securing employment. Community service is also a common requirement as is not committing another criminal offense.

With deferred adjudication, the defendant enters a guilty plea. The judge, however, does not find the defendant guilty but instead “defers” the finding of guilt. It is important to note that deferred adjudication is not considered to be a conviction pursuant to Texas law and it will
appear as such on any criminal background check. One of the major benefits of deferred adjudication, however, is that the defendant may file a petition for non-disclosure once the community supervision has been successfully completed. If granted, non-disclosure means that the criminal record is essentially sealed from private entities. This may include potential
employers and apartment complexes that require a background check on potential tenants.

This is a critical part of deferred adjudication. The deferred adjudication status will remain on your criminal history unless you file a petition for non-disclosure to seal your record. If you fail to comply with the terms of your community supervision, the district attorney prosecuting the case may request that the judge adjudicate you as guilty and send you to jail or prison. If the judge elects to adjudicate you, he or she has the legal right to sentence you to terms prescribed by state statute.

Additionally, it is important to note that not everyone is eligible for deferred adjudication. While it is usually available to first-time criminal offenders, there are some exceptions. Some criminal offenses are not eligible for deferred adjudication. Also, if it is a felony charge, you will have to wait five years from the completion of your community supervision before you can file for non-disclosure. If you elect to go to trial, know that deferred adjudication will not be available to you. Deferred adjudication cannot be granted by a jury.

Committed to Defending Our Clients Against All Criminal Charges

While facing a criminal charge can feel like you have run out of options, know that this is not the case. A criminal charge is, no doubt, a tough spot to be in, but know that it is not the end. You have a chance to fight and Benjamin Law Firm is here to fight for you. If you are facing criminal charges, contact us today.

About the Author
Brock Benjamin is board-certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.  His practice is primarily state and federal criminal law and appeals.Brock 

Posted in: Criminal Defense