In Texas, there are two basic types of supervision, following a plea of guilty or no contest: Deferred Adjudication Supervision and Regular Community Supervision. Often referred to as “deferred adjudication” and “straight probation,” the differences between these two types of supervision can have a significant affect on the outcome of a case and whether a person may be entitled to have his or her criminal records sealed from public view. Please refer to our blog post regarding Regular Community Supervision for further explanation.
Deferred Adjudication Supervision
Deferred Adjudication Supervision (a.k.a. deferred adjudication) is a special form of supervision in which an accused pleads guilty or “no contest” to a charged offense, but the Court does not find the person guilty at that time. Instead, the Court defers a finding of guilt and places the accused on supervision for up to two (2) years for a misdemeanor offense or ten (10) years for a felony offense. Upon successful completion of deferred adjudication community supervision, the case is usually dismissed. Depending on certain eligibility requirements, a dismissed case may eventually be sealed via a Petition for Non-Disclosure.
Disadvantages of Deferred Adjudication
Deferred adjudication supervision is usually a better outcome in a criminal case than regular community supervision, but only if the defendant successfully completes the supervision. Any violation of a deferred adjudication term or condition may result in the prosecution filing a “Motion to Adjudicate Guilt,”
which could trigger a court hearing limited to the issue of whether the probationer violated any term or condition of supervision. At such a hearing, the prosecution does not have to prove the supervision violation beyond a reasonable doubt (which is the standard of proof in an ordinary criminal trial). Rather, the prosecution merely needs to prove a violation by a “preponderance of the evidence” — more likely than not, that a violation occurred. This is a much lower standard than proof beyond a reasonable doubt. If it is shown that a deferred adjudication condition was violated, the individual will be subject to the full range of sentencing under the statute they were charged. For example, if an accused is placed on deferred adjudication supervision for a third degree felony, which is punishable by 2 to 10 years imprisonment and a fine up to $10,000, the judge may sentence the accused to anywhere within that range, upon a finding that an alleged violation is true. If the accused has already served jail time as a condition of supervision, the Court will not typically give that person credit for the time served as a condition.
Contact an Expert in Criminal Law
Although this summary of Deferred Adjudication Supervision may be informative, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to discuss your options. If you or a loved one is charged with a crime in the Greater Houston area and beyond, the attorneys at Scheiner Law Group, P.C., are an excellent choice to guide you through the criminal process. Our goal is a dismissal or acquittal whenever possible. Call us during normal business hours at 713-783-8998. After hours and on weekends text 713-581-4540.