The Truth About Deferred Adjudication by Bo Kalabus

Many people have misconceptions about just what deferred adjudication probation is in Texas. What most people believe is that the offense will be erased from their record if they successfully complete the deferred probation period. This belief is simply not true.

<strong>The Truth About Deferred Adjudication</strong>

A deferred sentence will still be on your criminal history after you complete the probation period. A person may attempt to erase their record by filing a petition for non-disclosure; however, the only type of offenses that an order of non-disclosure will erase completely are those classified as Class C misdemeanors–if eligible. If a person is successful in obtaining an order for non-disclosure for an offense other than a Class C misdemeanor, their criminal record will be shielded from the general public, but not erased. Furthermore, some deferred sentences are ineligible for non-disclosure. For example, any crime involving family violence is ineligible for non-disclosure. So, if a person takes deferred adjudication for a Class A assault that involves family violence, that sentence will stay on your criminal history forever.

Finally, some deferred sentences require a waiting period before the petition for non-disclosure can be filed. For example, some misdemeanors like assault or unlawfully carrying a weapon require a two-year waiting period before the petition can be filed. That is, you must wait two years after completing your deferred probation before attempting to clear your record. For felonies, the waiting period is five years.

<strong>Carefully Consider Deferred Adjudication</strong>

Many lawyers convince clients to take deferred sentences by arguing that the record will eventually be sealed. Remember that some offenses can never be sealed, and some offenses require the waiting period. So while deferred adjudication is often a good deal, sometimes you might be better off fighting the charge and proving your innocence. Stay informed and be sure to ask your lawyer questions regarding the implications of deferred adjudication for your specific situation.

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