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Let’s face it, having a criminal record can make life tough. It can come up and cause problems on your employment applications. It can cause problems on housing applications. Fortunately, if you have been charged with a crime in Texas, you may be eligible for deferred adjudication.

What is Deferred Adjudication?

Deferred adjudication is comparable to court-ordered community supervision, commonly referred to as “probation,” but the person accepts responsibility for a crime without a conviction going on their record. Not everyone, however, will be eligible for deferred adjudication. Also, there are certain requirements that must be complied with in order for a person to be granted deferred adjudication.

First, a judge is the only person who can grant deferred adjudication. Both the prosecutor on the case and the person charged with the crime will have to agree to waiving a jury trial. The alleged perpetrator of the crime will also be asked to submit a guilty plea. The finding of guilt will be deferred until such time where you complete the terms of your community supervision. Sometimes, a nolo contendere or “no contest” plea will suffice for purposes of being granted deferred adjudication. A no contest plea means that you do not contest the criminal charge you are facing. Such a plea is attractive as it cannot be used against a person later on in other legal matters, should they ever arise.

Those who have been charged with a misdemeanor offense, other than driving while intoxicated (DWI) or boating while intoxicated (BWI), are eligible for deferred adjudication. Additionally, those charged with a felony may also be eligible for deferred adjudication unless the charge is one of DWI, BWI, or intoxication assault or manslaughter. Those charged with certain repeat drug offenses and repeat sex offenders will also be ineligible for deferred adjudication. It is most common for deferred adjudication to be offered to first time offenders although this is not always the case.

Those who have been placed on deferred adjudication must be careful to comply with the terms of their community supervision. Violations of these terms can carry steep penalties. Upon successful completion of the community supervision period, the person will receive a discharge and dismissal of their case. It is important to note that deferred adjudication may prevent a conviction from appearing on a criminal record, it will not erase the existence of the underlying arrest from the criminal record. Upon completion of the term of community supervision, there is also the opportunity to petition the court for an order of nondisclosure in order to have their criminal record sealed or expunged. This petition, however, must wait until two years from the discharge or dismissal of a misdemeanor offense or five years from the discharge or dismissal of a felony offense.

Criminal Defense Attorneys

Being charged with a crime does not mean you have to be stuck with a criminal record that can jeopardize your future. Talk to the team at Navarrete & Schwartz about how we can help. We are proud to serve the residence of Midland, Texas. Contact us today.