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Is a deferred adjudication a finding of guilt?

Austin, TX |

I am applying for an appointment for tx notary public and it asked if I've been found guilty of a crime other than a class C misdemeanor. can I answer no for that?

Attorney Answers 6


  1. Deferred Adjudication is not a finding of guilt, unless you violated the terms of your probation, and the Court adjudicated you guilty. If you successfully completed your probation, then you should not have a conviction.

    Todd Steele's response to your question is for general information purposes only. Nothing in this response should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.


  2. So long as you successfully completed your deferred adjudication term, you are in the clear and can answer "no" to that question. As a side note, I would recommend consulting an attorney regarding a non-disclosure, which if granted will effectively seal most deferred adjudication offenses from the public's view.

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  3. Yes, you can answer no. No, it is not a conviction.

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  4. Although for most purposes it is true that unless later adjudicated (and thus changed) to a final conviction, a Deferred Adjudication is not considered a conviction, there are a few exceptions. I would not expect this to be one of them, but it would be worth a quick bit of research on recent case law just to be sure.

    This answer is intended to be taken as general information and not as specific legal advice. You should always consult a qualified attorney and make him familiar with all the relevant facts in order to get proper legal advice. Every case is different, and they must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. David N. Smith 812 W. 11th Street, Suite 201 Austin TX 78701 (512) 457-0100 defenseattorneysmith.com


  5. Deferred is NOT a conviction so you can answer "No" if asked if you've been convicted of an offense.


  6. Deferred adjudication is a tricky concept. Normally when a defendant is charged with a crime, pleads guilty or no contest, and the attorney for the government reads the factual basis for the crime, the judge says "I find the defendant guilty." This means the defendant was adjudicated guilty and now has a brand new conviction to haunt him or her forever.

    With deferred adjudication, that last part (where the judge says "I find the defendant guilty") does not happen right away. In fact, if the defendant jumps through all the hoops, that last part will never happen, and therefore the defendant will never have a conviction for that offense. So, I would say deferred adjudication requires a finding of guilt (in the judge's mind). However, because the judge did not officially say he or she finds the defendant guilty, there was no official finding of guilt and therefore no conviction.