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Deferred Adjudication

Having a criminal record can limit your life in a lot of ways. A viable option for some misdemeanants is a type of probation referred to as deferred adjudication. If your adjudication is deferred, then you won’t have a criminal conviction on your record. Instead your plea will be deferred and the only mark on your record is an arrest.

It’s a common myth that if you have deferred adjudication your charges will be erased. Some government and licensing agencies will still have access to your charges. The only way to truly seal your charges is to file for non-disclosure.

However, a deferred adjudication is much better than a conviction. You will need to simply complete the terms and conditions of the program to adjudicate your guilt. In addition, these conditions are much less rigorous than standard probation. Once you have completed the program the judge will totally dismiss your charges.

If you’re a first-time offender with misdemeanor charges, you may qualify for deferred adjudication.

Attorney for Deferred Adjudication in Houston, Texas

The impact of a criminal conviction is stressful beyond bars. It’s common for future employers or licensing agencies to avoid accepting people with criminal backgrounds. They can also regularly check if you have a criminal record through the public record. Don’t let one event dictate your whole future. Contact the attorneys at Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc. today.

Our attorneys can assess your charges to see if you qualify for deferred adjudication. We can also file motions, collect evidence and create a strong defense for your case. Stay ahead of your charges today by contacting the attorneys at Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc.. Call us now at (713) 224-5529 for a case consultation today.

Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc. accepts clients throughout the greater Houston metropolitan area including Tomball, Bellaire, West University Place and Pasadena.

Overview of Deferred Adjudication in Texas


What is Deferred Adjudication in Texas?

Deferred adjudication is a special type of “community supervision,” otherwise known as probation. A standard community supervision order requires a plea of guilty or no contest. A deferred adjudication also requires a plea, but your guilt is adjudicated.

When your guilt is adjudicated, it means you won’t have a final conviction on your record. You must complete the terms and conditions of the program, however, to do this. Typically, the terms for deferred adjudication are lighter in comparison. The judge could require you to undergo drug screenings, attend rehabilitate classes or perform community service.

Similar to probation, you must successfully complete the program to reap its benefits. If you finish without violating any of the terms of your deferred adjudication, then the judge can dismiss your charges. You can even expunge your charges completely after a certain amount of time has passed.


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What is the Difference Between Probation and Deferred Adjudication?

Deferred adjudication and probation function similarly with different outcomes. Both require a plea of guilty or no contest, but the effects of probation are much more devastating. A probation will result in a final conviction. The judge will accept the plea and instead “probate” your sentence. This means you can complete your community supervision instead of jail.

Probation is the obvious choice over jail or prison. However, it does come with some cost. Employers and licensing agencies will still be able to access your record through a background check. You also cannot file a petition for expunction. This means you will never be eligible to have your record erased completely.

Deferred adjudication requires a plea, but also automatically adjudicates guilt. This means the judge won’t accept it. You will instead be required to fulfill the terms and conditions of your deferred adjudication. The judge will dismiss your charges after you complete the program.

The best part about deferred adjudication is that you can file for non-disclosure. You must qualify and file a petition of non-disclosure with the court. If you have waited and the order is granted, then you’ll be able to seal your records completely.


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How Long is Deferred Adjudication?

Texas has established laws for the duration of a deferred adjudication term. Texas Code of Criminal Procedure § 42A.103 states the maximum term for deferred adjudication is:

  • Up to 2 years for a misdemeanor case; and
  • Up to 10 years for a felony case.

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Penalties for Violating Deferred Adjudication

A violation of your deferred adjudication can result in serious penalties. A judge can choose to adjudicate your guilt, which means you’ll be facing the full statutory penalties again. Depending on the crime, this could include expensive fines and even possible jail or prison time.

Thankfully, you can contest this by filing for a hearing. You can hire quality legal representation and contest your violation at the hearing. A practiced attorney can collect evidence and use their extensive resources to prove the violation didn’t exist or was necessary.


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Additional Resources

Deferred Adjudication – Visit the official website of the Texas courts to find more information surrounding deferred adjudication, orders of non-disclosure and expunction. Learn how each legal process functions, it’s purpose and how to qualify.

Texas Probation Laws – Visit the official website of Texas Code of Criminal Procedure to learn more about community supervision. Access the statutes to find more information surrounding community supervision guidelines, what happens if you violate probation and conditions for standard community supervision.


Lawyer for Deferred Adjudication in Houston, Texas

If you or someone you know may qualify for deferred adjudication, it’s imperative you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. An attorney can evaluate your case to see if you’re eligible for deferred adjudication. They can also advocate deferred adjudication for you if the District Attorney hasn’t offered it.

There’s no reason a nonviolent first offender should be saddled with a criminal conviction. Find an answer today with Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc.. Our attorneys at Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc. have negotiated deferred adjudication for many clients. We can assess your charges to uncover all your legal options. Get your life back with the attorneys at Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc..

Call us at (713) 224-5529 to schedule a case evaluation. Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc. defends clients throughout the greater Harris County area including Houston, Pasadena, West University Place and Bellaire.


This article was last updated on March 8th, 2019.

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