Deferred Adjudication in Bexar County, Texas
This guide will help explain the consequences of accepting a deferred adjudication as a resolution to a criminal case.
What is Deferred Adjudication?Deferred Adjudication is a special kind of probation. An accused can only be placed on deferred adjudication if the State allows them to apply to be accepted into that program. People are placed on Deferred Adjudication once they admit guilt (or enter a no contest plea) and the judge agrees to defer a finding of guilt. If you complete the terms of Deferred Adjudication your case is dismissed. However, a dismissal under deferred adjudication is not the same as an acquital and that dismissal can still show up on your criminal record.
Who qualifies for Deferred Adjudication?If you have been accused of a crime you can, in most cases, receive deferred adjudication. This is not true if you have a prior felony conviction. If you are accused of some sexual offenses you might not be eligible for a deferred adjudication. If you have been accused of a felony offense for which you are not eligible for deferred adjudication your lawyer must convince the State to change the offense to an offense for which deferred is available.
What are the Benefits?The benefits of Deferred Adjudication are that your case is dismissed if you complete the termsof your probation. However, to enter into Deferred Adjudication you have to admit responsibility or enter into a no contest plea.
Are there any disadvantages to taking Deferred Adjudication?Yes. Once you take a plea it is very difficult to have that plea undone. If you are not guilty, or believe that there are problems with the State's case you may want to take your case to trial. If you mess up on your deferred adjudication you can be subject to the full range of punishment and the burden of proof on the State will be much lower during a revocation hearing. Prior to entering into a plea bargain, even a plea bargain that recommends deferred adjudication, you should consider the strengths and weaknesses of your case. If your attorney has not explained how the State is going to prove each and every element of the State's accusation he/she has not done their job and you need to get a second opinion before accepting your deferred adjudication.