What Is Deferred Adjudication and When Is It an Option?

Usually offered to first-time offenders by a judge, deferred adjudication is a type of community supervision/probation. It allows a defendant to accept responsibility for a crime he or she committed without a conviction being recorded.

It’s important to note that the jury cannot grant a deferred adjudication. Since only a judge can grant this order, the defender and prosecutor must mutually agree to waive a jury trial. A deferred adjudication is a much better deal than conventional community supervision; since there is no conviction, the charges are dismissed.

In this blog, we’ll offer a closer look at what a deferred adjudication means, when it becomes an option, and who qualifies for it. Keep reading.

1. The Basics of Deferred Adjudication

If a person complies with the conditions of his or her community supervision while on deferred adjudication, their record can be sealed. This doesn’t happen automatically; your lawyer will file a petition for nondisclosure.

Certain offenses are not eligible for nondisclosure. If you fail to comply with the set requirements, the district attorney will request that the judge adjudicate you (find you guilty).

Not every charge is eligible for deferred adjudication. The following charges do NOT qualify:

  • Driving while intoxicated
  • Boating while intoxicated
  • Flying while intoxicated
  • Intoxication assault
  • A repeat sex offense
  • A repeat drug offense
  • Intoxication manslaughter

Most misdemeanor charges are eligible. To qualify for nondisclosure, you must have successfully completed deferred adjudication. Nondisclosure cannot be sought for the following offenses:

  • Murder
  • Capital murder
  • Injury to a child, disabled person, or elderly individual
  • Aggravated kidnapping
  • Abandoning a child
  • Endangering a child
  • Abuse
  • Violating a protective order/condition of bond in a family violence case
  • Sexual assault
  • Stalking
  • Offenses that require you to register as a sex offender
  • Offenses that involve family violence

Once the court has ordered your dismissal and discharge, you must wait before seeking an order of nondisclosure. If you’re facing felony charges, you’ll have to wait for five years from the day you finish probation to file for nondisclosure.

Certain misdemeanors, like sexual offenses, assaultive offenses, unlawful restraint, disorderly conduct, weapon offenses, and offenses against the family, entail a waiting period of two years.

Recommended Read: Cleaning Up Your Record

2. What Is the Court Process for Order of Nondisclosure?

A man in white shirt stands with a paper bag over his headThe process starts by having your attorney file a petition. Once this is completed, the court clerk will notify the state prosecutor. The state has 45 days to request a hearing starting from the day they were notified about the order of non-disclosure. Work with your lawyer to understand the process and your options.

3. Who’s the Right Lawyer for Me?

If you’re looking for an experienced and dedicated criminal defense attorney in the Greater Houston area, attorney JL Carpenter can help you understand deferred adjudication and file your nondisclosure petition with the appropriate court. She works diligently to build strong cases for her clients while helping them understand their legal options.

Whether you need help with DWI, drug possession, family violence, or domestic violence charges, give her a call today. For more information, explore her practice areas, track record, and FAQs.

JL serves clients in Friendswood, Clear Lake, and the surrounding areas.