Waco Deferred Adjudication Lawyers
What is Deferred Adjudication in Texas?
There are few things more misunderstood in the world of criminal justice than deferred adjudication. The philosophy behind deferred adjudication is that society benefits if more people retain the ability to obtain good jobs and to be productive in those jobs. Therefore, deferred adjudication probation presents the opportunity to keep a criminal conviction off of your permanent criminal history.
Deferred adjudication works in the following way:
- A person enters a plea of guilty before the court.
- The judge will declare, "I find that there is enough evidence to establish your guilt, but I am not going to find you guilty at this time."
- Then, if you successfully complete probation, you are never found guilty and the case is ultimately dismissed.
At Milam & Fanning, PLLC, our Waco lawyers can walk you through the criminal process step by step. Let our experienced attorneys be your guides and advocates from day one. Serving defendants and arrestees in Waco and Lorena, from Baylor University, and across McLennan County, we are committed to protecting futures.
For a consultation, call (254) 237-5602. We will be happy to tell you more about deferred adjudication and whether it may apply in your case.
The Downside of Deferred Adjudication
The bad part of deferred adjudication is that there is no cap (except for the statutory maximum) on punishment if you are subsequently adjudicated and your probation is revoked. For instance, if you are on deferred probation for a second-degree felony, it simply takes one failed drug test, one missed curfew, or getting one hour behind in your community service hours to give the judge the right to sentence you to 20 years.
Now, staying with this example, he or she would also have the discretion to sentence you to the minimum of two years. But, your fate would rest entirely in the hands of the judge. Before entering deferred probation, it is a good idea to make sure you are committed to the idea.
The serious benefits and potential consequences of deferred adjudication are best discussed with an experienced Waco defense attorney. We welcome you to call our offices at (254) 237-5602to review your situation with one of our knowledgeable professionals.
Motion for Non-Disclosure in Texas
After you complete the deferred adjudication, you may be able to file what is called a “motion for non-disclosure”. This motion works in a similar fashion as when a juvenile is having his or her records sealed. The event does not "come off" your record completely (like an expunction), but it does make it impossible for the general public to view it.
What does this mean, exactly? Well, private citizens are not supposed to see that you were arrested and had your case dismissed pursuant to successfully completing deferred probation. This is very helpful when interviewing at a private company. However, law enforcement and any other state agencies would have access to the information. So, you could conceivably go to a job interview and legally deny you were ever arrested — but would need to tell an officer about the arrest if you were pulled over for speeding on the way home.
If you plan to work in a profession that is overseen by a state board (such as teaching, counseling, or practicing law), a motion for non-disclosure is not going to help you. The board, like the police officer, would have access to that information.
Assault Family Violence & Motions for Non-Disclosure
There are different rules regarding motions for non-disclosure on different charges. For example, for the offense of assault family violence, one may not file a motion for non-disclosure. Our state legislature has ruled that family violence is one offense we should not let someone hide. Also, on some felony charges, there are waiting periods of differing amounts of time. Our criminal lawyers in Waco, TX can help answer those questions for you on a case-by-case basis.
In today's world of blogs, posts, and rants, it is impossible to guarantee that information about your case is not floating around somewhere in cyberspace. There is no guarantee that accompanies a deferred adjudication and/or a motion for non-disclosure.
Deferred adjudication can be helpful for other reasons, however. It can help you avoid certain collateral consequences that are triggered by a conviction. For instance, convictions for the offenses of “possession of marijuana” and “driving while license invalid” result in a driver's license suspension. Deferred adjudication on either charge can help you keep driving legally.
Learn more by calling our Waco motion to adjudicate guilt attorney at (254) 237-5602.