Posts Tagged ‘Deferred Adjudication’

What’s The Difference Between Deferred Adjudication and Straight Probation?

Monday, November 18th, 2013

The criminal process is stressful and confusing for most people.  Many people convicted of crimes are able to avoid jail time by their case resulting in a deferred adjudication or probation.  While these options allow individuals to freely move about, there are stringent requirements that must be complied with.  So, what’s the difference?

In Texas, probation is known as community supervision.  Community supervision, or probation, allows a defendant to stay in the community and avoid jail time, while being supervised by the court.  Depending on the criminal charge, the supervision period may be as long as two years for a misdemeanor, and ten years for a felony.

There are two types of community supervision in Texas.  The first type is called deferred adjudication, and the second type is called regular community supervision, also known as “straight probation.”  Deferred adjudication is a milder form of community supervision, and straight probation is stricter, as explained below.

Deferred Adjudication

Deferred adjudication is an option generally available for first time offenders.  This form of probation is less serious than straight probation.  If you are found guilty of a crime as a first time offender and are offered deferred adjudication and finish the term successfully, there will be no formal conviction of the crime – the charge is simply dismissed.  The criminal charge against you will be sealed from the public and will not be disclosed. However, if you are given deferred adjudication and violate the terms of the supervision, a judge may then be able to sentence you to jail time within the range of the crime charged.

Straight Probation

Straight probation, also often called regular community supervision is more serious than deferred adjudication.  First, straight probation may result in a conviction and cannot be sealed or expunged as is the case with deferred adjudication.  Second, if a defendant chooses to have a jury trial, straight probation is typically an option for punishment, unlike deferred adjudication, where a jury cannot make that determination.  Third, if you are given straight probation and violate the terms of the probation, it may be revoked, and you may be facing jail time.  But, the maximum possible jail time you may receive for violating your straight probation will be determined at the time you plea.

Why you need to speak with an attorney

As the above information suggests, probation options in Texas are very confusing.  Therefore, it is important that you discuss the possible options available to you prior to being sentenced for a crime you are charged with.  It is never a good idea to go to court alone.  This often results in the judge ordering a sentence right away that may be avoided had legal counsel been with you.  If you have been charged with a crime and are concerned about the possible consequences, you should speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney right away.

If you feel you may be eligible for probation, especially if you are a first time offender, an attorney can look at all aspects of your case and determine what the best course of action is for you.  The most important thing to remember is that if you are giving community supervision/probation, whether by way of a deferred adjudication or straight probation, you must comply with all conditions of the community supervision, or it may be revoked and you may be sentenced to jail time.

If you would like to discuss this matter further with an experienced criminal defense attorney, or simply want more information about the probation process in Texas, contact Attorney Jack Pettit.  Mr. Pettit is a seasoned Dallas criminal defense attorney who can evaluate your case and make sure your rights are being protected.  Contact our firm today by calling 214-521-4567 to discuss your case with Mr. Pettit.  Don’t wait to act, as experienced legal representation can increase the chances of you avoiding jail time.  Our office provides bilingual services in Spanish and accepts most major credit cards.