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What is deferred adjudication?

Deferred adjudication is when the defendant has made the decision to make a plea of guilty or no contest. In exchange for pleading guilty or no contest to criminal charges, the defendant will follow the sentencing guidelines that the court puts in place. What is deferred adjudication in one state might not be exactly the same in another. Each state has guidelines that must be met in order to accept this plea deal. It is usually offered to first time offenders. Some individuals can have their record expunged as well as an order of non-disclosure to be obtained. This will allow for their record to be kept sealed.

Deferred adjudication probation is when the defendant is offered a plea deal that he or she accepts in exchange for pleading guilty and will have to complete a set amount of hours of probation. Deferred adjudication is very similar but the terms of each vary depending on the state that the person is being tried for their crime or where the crime was committed.

Is deferred adjudication a conviction? This depends on the conditions of the deferred adjudication as well as what state the crime took place in. In some states such as Texas, when an individual accepts deferred adjudication they are subject to many conditions that must be followed. The conditions that are given must be completed within the given time frame. The courts can determine to not have the conviction on their record. This means that if the court ordered an individual to pay restitution, complete community service hours as well as report to a probation officer and their terms within two years after they complete all of these terms the probation officer send a completion notice to the courts. In many situations the court can receive this information and determine whether or not to have the information regarding the crime removed from the person’s record. Once an individual has opted for the deferred than they are responsible for completing the terms that were set forth by the courts. Any individual that does not complete either the probation or community service can be convicted of the crime and will have this on their record. It is important for any person in this situation to abide by the guidelines and follow all rules to be able to have their record kept clean of a conviction. Not abiding by the rules can also result in jail time depending on the crime. After this probationary period has passed and the person has completed all terms a motion can be filed to keep the information from being accessed by the public by filing an appeal for non-disclosure. People or entities such as employers, apartment complexes are considered the public that would do a criminal background check. Once again each state has set guidelines and rules that apply only to that state.

To define deferred adjudication is universal regardless of location. Each state might have different stipulations or guidelines to it. Deferred adjudication is available for only some offenses and will usually have probation, restitution, involvement in a treatment program and some sort of community service hours that are required. The court will set a time frame for everything to be completed and if completed the offender can avoid jail time as well as a conviction on their permanent record. This is important since most jobs will require a background check of some sort in order to qualify for employment. This can eliminate not being eligible for job because of a crime.

This works similar for a speeding ticket. Deferred adjudication speeding ticket will allow an individual to pay the speeding ticket amount in full as well as court fees for the adjudication. During this time the court will place the person driving on a probationary period. This means that they are not able to receive any type of traffic violation. If a traffic violation is committed within this time frame than the ticket and violation will stay on their driving record. This can raise the person’s car insurance premium and in some cases cause the insurance carrier to drop their coverage. In some states the person must send a written request to have adjudication as an option instead of taking the defensive driving courses that are offered. In order to obtain the proper information the person should write to the clerk of the court to find out what the proper procedure and guidelines must be met as well as if they are a candidate for this as an option.

All individuals should be aware of these laws especially the ones that pertain to their particular state. Knowing the laws of adjudication is necessary especially if an individual has made a mistake and is a first time offender. These processes were put in place to help those individuals that might have had a lapse in judgment and mistakenly broke the law. This allows them to still be held responsible for breaking the law by making them sign up and complete community service hours as well as report to a probation officer. When the crime is related to alcohol or drugs than the individual might be voluntarily entered into a treatment program as the terms of their probation. These laws help to make these individuals accountable for their mistakes but also give them a chance at still leading a successful life. If their records were not cleared or sealed than these people would not be able to get a job, go to college, qualify for financial aid or even find an apartment or home to rent. Mistakes such as these can haunt an individual for the rest of their life. The legal system put adjudication laws in place to help rehabilitate individuals who break the law and make them a better citizen. This also means that if they break the law again that they will not receive such leniency in the future. This is a way to segregate those individuals who make a mistake and those that are habitual offenders.