Deferred adjudication is a special form of judge-ordered community supervision commonly known as probation. It permits a criminal defendant in Texas to accept responsibility for a crime without an actual conviction being placed on their record. A judge can grant deferred adjudication to a defendant and later discharge the defendant from this type of probation early if the judge believes the discharge serves the best interest of society.
A defendant who has been granted deferred adjudication may petition the court for early termination of probation and persuade the judge that he or she should receive an early discharge. Making a persuasive case requires the assistance of a reputable Austin attorney who is experienced in Texas criminal courts and handles deferred adjudication requests.
The experienced Austin criminal defense lawyers at Minton, Bassett, Flores & Carsey, P.C., can file a motion for early termination of deferred adjudication on your behalf if the facts support such a request. We have successfully represented clients facing criminal charges across Central Texas since 1963. We are ready to put our skills, resources, and reputation to work to ensure that your case for relief is heard and duly considered.
Probation vs. Deferred Adjudication: Know the Differences
Probation is an alternative to incarceration that permits individuals who have been charged and/or convicted of crimes to live and work in the community, support their families, receive rehabilitative services, and make restitution to the victims of their crimes.
A defendant may be placed on regular probation after they have been convicted of a crime. Instead of sentencing the defendant to jail or prison, the court will release the individual to the Community Supervision department, which will assign probation requirements and restrictions the offender must follow in lieu of going to jail or prison.
Another alternative is deferred adjudication probation. Instead of handing down a sentence, the judge may decide to enter a finding of guilt and place the defendant on deferred adjudication probation. This type of probation also imposes terms and conditions on the defendant. If the defendant completes probation successfully, the court will dismiss the charges, and there will be no conviction on the individual’s record.
An important exception to the rules about deferred adjudication is that, for the purposes of immigration, federal laws treat deferred adjudication that carries a punishment as criminal convictions. If an applicant for naturalization or citizenship was on probation during the five-year period prior to their filing date, this might adversely affect the overall determination of good moral character necessary for approval.
Who Is Eligible for Deferred Adjudication Probation in Texas?
While granting deferred adjudication is a judge’s decision, there are restrictions on eligibility for this special probation.
Deferred adjudication is available to any defendant charged with a misdemeanor crime other than driving while intoxicated or boating while intoxicated. In addition, any defendant charged with a felony is eligible, except those charged with:
- Driving while intoxicated (DWI)
- Intoxication assault
- Intoxication manslaughter
- Committing a repeated drug offense within a drug-free zone
- A repeated sex offense.
Because only a judge can grant deferred adjudication, the prosecutor and the eligible defendant must agree to waive a jury trial.
Seeking Early Termination of Deferred Adjudication? Here Is When You Can Apply
Under regular probation, an offender must typically serve at least one-third of the original probation sentence or two years, whichever is less, to be eligible for early release. For deferred adjudication probation, the law does not state a minimum time served to be eligible for early termination.
This indicates that a defendant could ask for early release from deferred adjudication at any time, but you would need to have something to show or tell the judge to persuade them. This is not likely to be immediately available to you. What will a judge want to hear from a defendant seeking an early termination of a deferred adjudication?
Again, the judge has wide discretion. In general, a defendant needs to show the judge that he or she has taken probation seriously and complied with the terms of probation. This would include the following:
- Meeting all terms and conditions of the deferred adjudication order
- Paying fines, court costs, probation fees, and other court-ordered payments on time
- Completing all court-ordered counseling, treatment, or classes
- Completing all court-ordered community service hours
- Maintaining a good relationship with your probation officer
- Not being arrested or charged with an additional offense
- Passing drug test.
Want to End Your Probation or Deferred Adjudication Early? Call Us for a Free Consultation
Texas courts recognize that some criminal defendants who have made a mistake deserve an opportunity to redeem themselves by serving a probationary sentence rather than active jail or prison time. If you have met the requirements of standard probation or deferred adjudication probation as handed down by a Texas court, you may be eligible for an early discharge of the probation order.
Contact a deferred adjudication lawyer at Minton, Bassett, Flores & Carsey, P.C. today for a confidential consultation about petitioning a judge to dismiss your community supervision/probation order. We can assess your case. If we believe you qualify for early termination of a probation order, we can file a motion for dismissal and advocate vigorously for you in court. We have helped many clients in similar situations. Contact us today at (512) 476-4873 or fill out our online form to discuss how we can assist you.