If you have been arrested for a criminal offense, you may have questions about the consequences you face if convicted. Most of us have heard of probation, but what is deferred adjudication, and how can it affect you?
In Texas, probation is called “community supervision.” Probation can be either regular community supervision or deferred adjudication. Regular community supervision is a mechanism by which an offender is not imprisoned, but is monitored by the court. Deferred adjudication is a similar plan offered to first-time offenders in Texas. Offenders typically prefer deferred adjudication, because completion of a deferred adjudication term results in a non-conviction. Record of a misdemeanor is automatically sealed once an offender completes the deferred adjudication term. A felony offense can be sealed after a term of five years. Once the term of the deferred adjudication is completed and record of the offense is sealed, an offender is permitted to deny that the offense occurred. If a defendant goes to trial, deferred adjudication is no longer available. Additionally, if an offender does not comply with the conditions of the deferred adjudication, the offender can be found guilty and sentenced to jail time.
Deferred adjudication is permitted for all offenses not contained in Chapter 49 of the Texas Penal Code. Chapter 49 deals with DWI, boating while intoxicated, flying while intoxicated, intoxication manslaughter and operating an amusement ride while intoxicated. For each of these offenses, deferred adjudication is statutorily prohibited.
For other offenses not listed under Chapter 49, deferred adjudication might be possible. The prosecutor for each case makes the determination as to whether deferred adjudication is permitted. In coming to this decision, the prosecutor considers a number of factors, including prior criminal history, the nature of the offense, whether violence or deadly weapons were involved, and whether injuries resulted.
If you have been arrested for a crime, an experienced San Antonio criminal defense attorney can examine whether deferred adjudication may be available to you.