What’s Deferred Adjudication
What Does it Mean For You?
There are certain legal phrases everyone hears, whether from a police officer, an attorney, a court clerk, or your average episode of Law & Order. Some of these might be RICO law, Habeas corpus, or in the case of this post, deferred adjudication. Every time someone gets a ticket, they read that deferred adjudication is an option, but more and more common is the comment that they don’t have any idea what it means. Ideally, we can settle that here.
Deferred adjudication is a plea bargain agreement that either you or your attorney reaches with the prosecutor signed off on by the court. Normally deferred adjudication simply involves the payment of a fee and your pledge to not receive further citations during the deferment period; both the fee and the length of the deferment period are negotiable. Depending on the case, a deferral plea bargain may also require community service, educational classes, etc. The clear benefit to deferred adjudication is that while you are pleading no contest and the court can, therefore, find you guilty, the court holds off on finding you guilty to see if you will comply the terms of the agreement, and will enter no finding of guilt for the case if all terms of the agreement are timely completed.
So, you’ve been ticketed or arrested and are weighing your options. You can either pay your ticket (almost always results in a conviction), or take it to court. You can either post your bail and proceed through the entire criminal process on your own, potentially ending with a criminal conviction. These aren’t exactly ideal scenarios, as your record can be permanently scarred by a conviction, and there may be hidden surcharges that will affect you for years to come.
If a guilty verdict and conviction are looming, deferred adjudication may be the way to go.
It is important to remember that the case, like all other cases for which you have been charged, will always remain on your criminal record unless you file for and receive an expunction once eligible.
Should you need representation or consult regarding a criminal charge, feel free to call 713-861-3100 or message Terry W. Yates & Associates in Houston, Texas today to set up a consultation.