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Deferred Adjudication

What is the benefit of Deferred Adjudication?

In Texas, the Judge can grant deferred adjudication under Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Art. 42A.101 if “in the judge’s opinion the best interest of society and the defendant will be served.” The benefit of Deferred Adjudication is that no finding of guilt is entered by the Judge and instead makes a finding that the evidence substantiates guilt. The defendant, who pleads guilty, is not found guilty and ordered to serve a period of community supervision.

Deferred adjudication allows an accused to say truthfully that he has never been convicted of the crime. This may be helpful in certain employment and licensing situations. At the end of of a successful community supervision term, the Judge will dismiss and discharge. However – and this is important – the defendant will still have a record of his plea and sentence unless it is sealed by an Order of Non-Disclosure.

Several crimes are not eligible for deferred adjudication, such as DWI offenses, certain sex crimes and Murder.

Is Deferred Adjudication a conviction?

Under Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Art. 42A.101, a deferment of guilt by the Judge does not result in a conviction. However, a jury trial is waived during the plea. If the defendant fails to complete his community supervision, because he violates the conditions in some way, the Judge can convict the defendant of the crime and sentence him to any term of imprisonment or jail within the applicable range. Deferred Adjudication is the classic “win big, lose big” sentence.

What is the difference between Deferred Adjudication and Pre-trial Diversion?

Pre-Trial Diversion does not require a plea. It is a contract between the prosecution and the defendant requiring a defendant to perform a number of conditions in order to secure a dismissal. Because Pre-Trial Diversion contracts typically require the defendant to report to a probation officer for a number of months and perform community service. These and other conditions make a Pre-Trial Diversion feel very much like community supervision to the defendant. However, Pre-Trial Diversion is much superior because at the end of the contract term a dismissal is gained, which allows for expunction. This results in a complete erasure of the event on the defendant’s record.

See Additional Information at FAQ Difference between Deferred Adjudication and Probation.