When you are facing criminal charges in Texas, it is not necessary that you will be convicted. There are several legal options that might enable you to avoid a conviction. One of the options that is available in certain situations is deferred adjudication.
What is Deferred Adjudication?
Deferred adjudication in Texas is a type of plea deal that allows you to avoid a trial, and possibly a conviction. You may consider entering a “no contest” or “guilty” plea to a criminal charge in exchange for deferred adjudication. What this means is that the law does not find you guilty, and instead, determination of your guilt gets “deferred” in exchange for your willingness to go through an alternative course of action.
In these cases, the alternatives could include fulfilling probation (or community supervision), and/or performing community service of some kind, and/or attending an educational course. Once you have successfully fulfilled these conditions, the judge will dismiss your case and you will not be considered guilty (despite the fact that you had pleaded guilty in order to obtain deferred adjudication).
But it is important to note that a deferred adjudication in Texas will not result in an automatic removal of the criminal charge from your record. This is a common myth, which you should guard against when assessing your legal options. A knowledgeable Houston deferred adjudication attorney can help you understand the pros and cons and make the right decision.
You Don’t Have a Conviction
When you choose the option of deferred adjudication in an applicable case, and successfully accomplish the process, under Texas law you will not be considered to have been convicted. This itself is a big thing under the circumstances. Even if a criminal record may not be erased, but you don’t have a conviction. (Clearly, you did not even have a trial to have been convicted.)
Deferred adjudication is not an option in every situation, but it is often granted in case of a first offense by an adult. Children or juvenile offenders are also often provided this choice so that they can avoid being criminally convicted.
Can You Get an Expungement?
Although deferred adjudication will usually not automatically clear your criminal record, it may still be possible to remove the criminal charge from your record. Your Houston deferred adjudication attorney could help you to obtain expungement (or expunction) for your case.
You are allowed to request and receive expungement of your charge for certain misdemeanor crimes, provided you pleaded no contest or guilty before the trial and completed the obligations under deferred adjudication. In that sense, a deferred adjudication can pave the way for the clearing of your criminal record.
Expunction may be possible in case of Class C misdemeanors (for example, theft of property which is lower than $50 in value). These types of lesser crimes do not involve imprisonment and incur a fine of less than $500. However, with more serious crimes, expunction may not be possible, even if you have successfully obtained deferred adjudication in Texas.
Finally, your Texas criminal defense lawyer will advise you that violating the terms of deferred adjudication could have serious consequences, and the judge could “adjudicate” (convict and sentence) you.
Looking for legal advice for your criminal case in Texas? The experienced legal team of veteran criminal defense attorneys and trial lawyers at Flood-Lewis & Associates is here to help. We treat clients like family and we will work hard to protect your rights. Call our team 24/7, 365 at 713-224-5529 for a free case review or use this online contact form to request a free consultation with one of our attorneys.