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Should You Accept Deferred Adjudication or Fight Your Charges?

Criminal defense attorney

A middle schooler’s understanding of the criminal process is that defendants in criminal cases go to trial, and the jury either convicts them with a guilty verdict or acquits them with a not guilty verdict. However, this scenario does not represent the majority of criminal cases. In many cases, the defendant pleads guilty as part of a plea deal, or else the court dismisses the case. In some instances, both happen. When a defendant accepts deferred adjudication, he or she first enters a provisional plea, but later, after the defendant has fulfilled all of the conditions of the deferred adjudication, the court dismisses the case. In other words, if all goes according to plan, then successfully completing deferred adjudication can be as good an outcome as getting acquitted. 

Of course, things do not always go according to plan. The decision to plead guilty, even in the context of deferred adjudication, is not one to take lightly. A Texas criminal defense lawyer can advocate for you if you are eligible for deferred adjudication and help you decide whether it makes more sense to enter deferred adjudication or to enter a not-guilty plea.

Texas Courts Offer Deferred Adjudication for Felony Sex Offenses

Texas is one of many states that offer deferred adjudication to some defendants in criminal cases; in some jurisdictions, it is called pretrial diversion or pretrial intervention. In many states, it is only available for misdemeanor cases, but in Texas, some defendants accused of certain felonies are eligible for deferred adjudication. Felony sex offense cases are even eligible for deferred adjudication, as long as it is not a repeat offense.

For felony cases, the deferred adjudication period can last for up to ten years. While you are on deferred adjudication, you must comply with a set of requirements set by the court on a case-by-case basis. It is like being on probation, except that you do not have a criminal conviction on your record. You must meet with a community supervision officer on the schedule determined by the court, and the court can forbid you to do things that would otherwise be legal, such as drinking alcohol, moving out of your parents’ house, or quitting your job. 

If you successfully complete the deferred adjudication, the court drops the charges against you. Five years after completing deferred adjudication for a felony, you can petition the court to seal the record. As with probation, if you violate any of the terms of your deferred adjudication, the deal is off; the court records a conviction on your record, and you receive the same sentence that one would normally receive if convicted of the offense with which you were charged.

Contact the Law Office of Patrick J. McLain, PLLC About Criminal Defense Cases

Dallas criminal defense lawyer can help you if you are facing felony charges for a sex-related crime, and you have the option to enter deferred adjudication or to plead not guilty. Contact the Law Office of Patrick J. McLain, PLLC, in Dallas, Texas, to discuss your case.

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