Deferred Adjudication Could Keep Your Criminal Record Clean

For those who are facing criminal charges, deferred adjudication could be the key to keeping those charges off of your criminal record, and avoiding time in jail or prison. While it may not be available to everyone, deferred adjudication provides a second chance by which offenders can show that they’re able to remain in good standing, and as a result, avoid conviction for the charges they face. Before you jump at the opportunity, there are several aspects of deferred adjudication that you should be made aware of.

How Does Deferred Adjudication Work?

To start, deferred adjudication requires that you plead guilty or no contest to the charges. Then, your attorney may petition for deferred adjudication before the trial begins. Because it can only be granted by a judge, your attorney will not be able to make this petition once a trial has started. In most cases, judges will grant deferred adjudication to first-time offenders. 

If deferred adjudication is granted, your trial is essentially placed on hold. You will be put on probation, the length of which is determined by your charges and the judge. The maximum period of probation is up to two years for misdemeanors and up to ten years for felonies. If you successfully complete the period of probation, your case will be dismissed, meaning that you were never convicted Afterward, your attorney remove the charges from your criminal record by filing a petition for non-disclosure. 

Is Deferred Adjudication Right for Me?

Although it’s clearly preferable to spending time in prison, deferred adjudication does not mean that you’re completely off the hook. It carries the same requirements as probation, including regular drug testing, check-ins with an officer, and potentially community service. If you violate the terms of the probation, you’ll face the charges that were previously deferred, and the sentence for those charges will usually be even higher. As we discussed in last month’s article, pretrial diversion is available for certain offenders, and if available, should be pursued instead of deferred adjudication. If you feel that you’re able to successfully follow the rules of the probation period and pretrial diversion is not available, deferred adjudication may be the key to keeping your record clean. To find out if you may be eligible for pretrial diversion, and for effective litigation of your case, contact The Law Offices of Charles A. Banker, III at (713) 227-4100 today.

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The Law Offices of Charles A. Banker, III

Our firm’s founder, Charles A. Banker III, has been a solo criminal defense practitioner with offices in Houston and McAllen, TX for over 30 years. He understands what it means to work independently in today’s hyperconnected world, but he also knows that sometimes you need to lean on others.

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