What’s Deferred Adjudication in Texas?

By Bo Kalabus
24-hour Jail Release: 214-402-4364

What is Deferred Adjudication in Texas?

On certain criminal cases you may be eligible for deferred adjudication as part of a plea agreement. What’s different with deferred adjudication is when you plead guilty, the judge does not find you guilty, and as a result (as long as you successfully complete probation) you are not formally convicted of the charged offense. The benefit is deferred adjudication is NOT a conviction and you have to opportunity to seal your arrest record.  A conviction on the other hand can never be sealed or removed from your record.  You get convicted when you have either lost at trial, or agreed to a plea agreement where you plead guilty before the court and the judge found you guilty and you were sentenced.

Am I Eligible For Deferred Adjudication?

Whether a person is eligible for deferred adjudication depends on the offense charged and the person’s criminal history.  There are several offenses where individuals ar e barred by law from receiving deferred adjudication.  Specifically offenses regarding intoxication under chapter 49 of the Texas Penal Code which are driving while intoxicated, boating while intoxicated, flying while intoxicated, intoxication manslaughter, etc. A defendant is eligible for deferred if he or she has been charged with most any other offense.

The next hurdle is whether the District Attorney (DA) will be willing to offer the deferred. The prosecutor assigned to the case makes this decision on a case-by-case basis. Some of the factors the prosecutor will consider are: is it a offense that is eligible for deferred, the defendant’s criminal history, the nature of the crime, was it a violent offense, was a deadly weapon involved, were there any injuries etc. An experienced attorney can help convince the prosecutor to offer deferred adjudication by exposing weaknesses in the prosecutor’s case.

How Can I Seal My Criminal Record?

In most misdemeanor cases, upon successful completion of the probation period, you can move to have the arrest sealed from the general public by filing a petition for non-disclosure. For felonies, you have to wait for 5 years before you move for a non-disclosure. Once the petition is granted, the arrest will be sealed. However, if you have a professional license of some sort, you will not be able to seal the record from those types of employers during background checks.

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