There are major misconceptions when discussing deferred adjudication, especially for family violence cases. The most common misconception is that the charge will be erased from your record because you completed the process. It’s not as neat as that.
What is Deferred Adjudication in Texas?
Deferred adjudication is usually offered to first-time offenders in Texas.
According to the State of Texas, deferred adjudication is a special form of judge-ordered community supervision (aka probation) that permits the defendant to accept responsibility for a crime without an actual conviction being placed on the record. Only a judge can grant a deferred adjudication, not a jury, so the prosecutor and defendant must agree to waive a jury trial.
Those typically eligible are:
Any defendant charged with a misdemeanor crime other than driving/flying/boating while intoxicated. In addition, any defendant charged with a felony, except:
Driving/flying/boating while intoxicated
A repeat drug offense enhanced with a drug-free zone finding, and
A repeat sex offense (indecency with a cold, sexual assault, or aggravated sexual assault)
However, this still requires the defendant to plead guilty or no contest. This locks down the possibility of dismissing the case outright.
A successfully completed deferred adjudication can often be sealed from public view with a non-disclosure once the waiting period is over. Sealing is on a case-by-case basis. Some deferred sentences are ineligible for non-disclosure.
For example, any crime involving family violence is ineligible for non-disclosure. It stays on your criminal history forever.
Can a Deferred Adjudication Effect Employment in Texas?
However, deferred adjudication is often called fool’s gold in criminal defense. Finishing your deferred adjudication doesn’t make the offense disappear into thin air. Usually, it affects your employment and lease deals.
According to the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, if your application reveals a conviction or deferred adjudication, this could be a basis for denying your license. This is always on a case-by-case basis. The state also provides a guide for all occupational license processes with deferred adjudication.
For employment, some employers may disqualify an application based on their family violence conviction. They can see you were charged with family violence, that you plead guilty to it, and at the very end, it says the charge is dismissed.
This doesn’t instill much confidence, and the dismissal for your charge can be missed.
Partner With the Right Criminal Defense Attorney
When considering fighting your charge for assault / family violence, you need to consider every route possible. For the best advantage, contact a skilled criminal defense attorney that understands the ins and outs of Williamson County.
Ryan Deck has been a community member for years and has played both prosecution and defense. He will take the time to truly understand your situation and move forward in the best-case scenario for your charge.