Austin Deferred Adjudication Lawyer

There are even more serious offenses, like continuous sexual abuse of a young child, aggravated sexual assault, and murder, where you generally can't get deferred adjudication. Although, in a murder case, if the judge thinks you didn't cause the death, didn't mean to kill, or didn't expect anyone to die, they might still give you deferred adjudication.

Conditions of Deferred Adjudication Community Supervision

When you're placed under this type of supervision, the judge can impose various conditions that you must follow. These conditions are similar to those you might have if you were on probation after a conviction. They can include serving time (confinement) or undergoing mental health treatment. Basically, the mental health treatment requirement happens if your condition is long-term or if you might get worse without help. The court will confirm with a local mental health or disability service whether there is treatment available for you, either from specific state agencies or another service provider. Besides these conditions, the judge may also require you to pay a fine, similar to what you would have to pay if you were convicted of the crime.

Affirmative Findings by the Judge

In Texas, there are some important steps the judge must follow, especially if the crime involves young victims or certain types of offenses. One of these steps involves a potential affirmative finding. The significance of an affirmative finding is that it could affect your ability to get your record sealed. It could also increase (enhance) sentencing of any future criminal offense.

First of all, if your charge is related to a sexually violent offense and the victim was under 14 years old at the time, the judge must make an affirmative finding. The same rule applies if you're charged with crimes like kidnapping or aggravated kidnapping, and the victim was under 17.

Furthermore, if the prosecutor asks for it, the judge must make a special note in cases where the victim has been trafficked or suffered serious physical or mental harm due to criminal activity, regardless of whether this conduct is directly related to your charge. This information is kept confidential unless the victim, or their parent or guardian if they are under 18, agrees to release it.

Lastly, if you're charged with a misdemeanor that's not under certain serious crime categories, the judge must decide whether it's fair for you to automatically have your records hidden from public view later. If the judge thinks it's not fair, they will make a note of it in your case file.

Right to Petition for Nondisclosure

Before the court puts you on deferred adjudication, they have to tell you about your right to ask for your criminal history to be hidden from public view later on. This is called an order of nondisclosure. If you get this order, it means your criminal record won't show up in regular background checks, which can be really helpful when you're looking for a job or housing.

However, there are a couple of reasons why you might not be able to get this order. First, it depends on the type of crime you were charged with. Some crimes are considered too serious for this. Second, it also depends on your past criminal history. If you have a certain kind of criminal background, you might not be able to get your record hidden.

Violation of Deferred Adjudication Conditions

If you're on deferred adjudication community supervision in Texas and you break one of its rules, you might get arrested. If this happens, you have the right to a court hearing. But this hearing is only to decide whether the court will move forward and find you guilty of the original charge you were facing.

Even if your supervision period is over, the court can still have a hearing and decide if you're guilty. This is only possible if, before your supervision ended, the state's attorney asked the court to move forward with your case, and there was an order for your arrest.

There is a specific defense under Texas law that you can use in these hearings. If you're accused of not reporting to your supervision officer or not staying in a specific area, you can defend yourself by saying that no officer tried to find you at your last known home or work address. This is called a due diligence defense. Basically, it means that if no one made a real effort to contact you about these rules, you might have a defense against the accusation of breaking your supervision rules.

What Happens After Deferred Adjudication Ends?

If you're found guilty after being on deferred adjudication community supervision, the court will continue with your case as if your guilt was never put on hold. This means that the court will decide your punishment, officially announce your sentence, consider if you should be given community supervision instead of jail time, and handle any appeal you might make, just like in a regular case where deferred adjudication wasn't involved.

Also, if you're found guilty of a state jail felony, the court has a couple of options. They can either decide not to send you to jail right away and put you under community supervision, or they can choose to have you serve your jail sentence. This decision can be made regardless of whether you've been convicted of a felony before.

Dismissal of the Case and Discharge

If you complete the deferred adjudication community supervision period without the judge deciding that you are guilty of the original charge, the judge will end your case. This means that the charges against you will be dismissed, and you will not have to deal with further consequences for that specific offense.

In some cases, the judge might end your case and let you go even before your supervision period is over. However, this doesn't apply if you were charged with an offense that requires you to register as a sex offender.

When your case is dismissed this way, it usually won't be considered a conviction for things like job qualifications or other legal issues. This means it shouldn't affect your ability to get or keep certain professional or occupational licenses. However, there are some exceptions. If you are later convicted of another crime, the court can use the fact that you were once on deferred adjudication as part of their decision on your punishment. Also, certain agencies, like those dealing with childcare or mental health services for sex offenders, can consider your deferred adjudication if you're trying to get or renew a license with them. This also applies if the offense you were on deferred adjudication for is related to the profession you're in or applying for, if your job involves direct contact with children.

Lastly, if your case is dismissed and you're discharged, the judge should give you a copy of the dismissal order. They should also tell you at that time if you're eligible for an order of nondisclosure and how you can go about getting this order.

Role of a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Deferred Adjudication

When deferred adjudication community supervision might be on the table, a criminal defense lawyer can be a key source of support for you. They explain the rules of deferred adjudication clearly, so you understand what's expected of you. Your lawyer can answer any questions about the conditions set by the court and help you follow them.

If there's a problem, like you're accused of not following these conditions, your lawyer will be there to represent you in court. They argue on your behalf and try to resolve the issue without harming your case. Also, if your case gets reviewed, your lawyer will be there to speak for you, making sure your side of the story is heard.

Your lawyer also keeps track of your case's progress. They make sure everything is going as planned and that you're meeting the terms of your supervision. If there are changes or updates in your case, your lawyer informs you and guides you through them.

Finally, if you complete your deferred adjudication successfully, your lawyer can assist with the process of getting your case dismissed and your record cleared. They provide advice on what steps to take and help with any paperwork or court appearances needed.

Remember, a criminal defense lawyer is there to guide you through this time, make sure your rights are protected, and help you complete your deferred adjudication successfully.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is deferred adjudication community supervision? 
Deferred adjudication means you're found guilty but the court hasn't recorded it yet. You follow certain rules to avoid a formal conviction.

Can anyone get deferred adjudication? 
Not everyone. For serious crimes, especially with victims, it's limited. Some offenses, like aggravated human trafficking or certain DWIs, aren't eligible.

What happens if I don't follow the rules? 
You might face a court hearing where the judge can decide to record your guilt and impose penalties.

What's the difference between probation and deferred adjudication? 
In probation, you're already convicted. Deferred adjudication avoids an immediate conviction, which can help keep your record clean.

Can my case be dismissed after successful deferred adjudication? 
Yes, if you meet all the conditions, your case can be dismissed without a formal conviction.

How long can deferred adjudication last? 
It depends. Felony cases can have up to 10 years, while misdemeanors are usually capped at two years.

Are there special rules for sex offenses or crimes against children? 
Yes, these cases have extra steps and requirements, like affirmative findings and specific notes in your file.

Can I ask to hide my criminal record later? 
Yes, you can request an order of nondisclosure to keep your record from showing in standard background checks.

What if I'm accused of violating supervision conditions? 
You have the right to a hearing to determine if you'll be found guilty of the original charge.

What happens if my deferred adjudication is successful? 
Your case is dismissed, which usually means no formal conviction for employment or legal matters.

Contact an Austin Deferred Adjudication Attorney Today

If you're facing criminal charges, it's important to understand your legal rights and options, including your eligibility for deferred adjudication community supervision. The experienced criminal defense attorneys at Cofer & Connelly, PLLC can help guide you through this process. Whether you're unsure about your eligibility or have questions about what deferred adjudication could mean for your future, we're here to provide the answers and support you need. To learn more, reach out to Cofer & Connelly, PLLC by calling (512) 991-0576 or contacting us online for a consultation with a deferred adjudication community supervision attorney.

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