What is the Difference Between Deferred Adjudication and Probation?

A judge may sentence you to probation if you are found guilty of a crime. During the probationary period, you may be required to attend frequent hearings, fulfill community service requirements, and pay a fine. If you fulfill the requirements of your probation, you will not be sent to prison or jail but the crime will still go on your record.

A judge may choose to place you on deferred adjudication if there is sufficient evidence to find you guilty. Instead of giving you a guilty verdict, the judge may decide to defer that verdict and place you on community supervision, i.e. probation. Once you serve your probation period and fulfill all of the requirements, you will never be found guilty of that crime that you were accused of. If you fail or violate your deferred adjudication, the judge can sentence you to any of the penalties within the range of punishment for your crime.

With the recent amendment to the Government Code ยง411, the practical benefits of deferred adjudication have increased even more. Now, defendants are allowed to file a Petition of Nondisclosure in certain instances. If you are given deferred adjudication, you can honestly tell employers that you have never been convicted of a crime. Keep in mind, however, that deferred adjudication will still appear on their records because it is not the same as a dismissal. Texas law does not allow defendants to qualify for deferred adjudication if they are under trial for certain crimes such as DWI.