Five Things Criminal Defendants Should Know About Deferred Adjudication

17 July 2016
 Categories: Law, Blog

Those facing a criminal conviction aren't limited to the options of pleading either "guilty" or "not guilty". There are also often certain plea deals available that can minimize the penalties a criminal defendant will face as a result of charges. One such plea deal is a deferred adjudication.

The following are five things defendants should know about deferred adjudication if they're attempting to fight a criminal conviction:

Deferred adjudication is a way to enjoy a lesser sentence while pleading guilty.

With deferred adjudication, a defendant will agree with the court to accept certain requirements for a given period of time before a formal decision is made on the defendant's sentence.

Deferred adjudication is not necessarily available in every case.

It's important that criminal defendants are aware of the fact that deferred adjudication may not be available in every jurisdiction. However, if deferred adjudication is not available in a certain jurisdiction, that jurisdiction might offer a similar plea deal agreement like a diversion program.

Also, some states use a different term for deferred adjudication. For example, deferred adjudication is known as "probation before judgment" in the state of Maryland. 

If a defendant pleads "guilty" through deferred adjudication, it's possible that no criminal conviction will go on his or her record.

One of the biggest advantages deferred adjudication offers to criminal defendants is that it can prevent a criminal conviction from going on the defendant's record.

For example, in the state of Texas a deferred adjudication will not result in a criminal conviction on the defendant's criminal record. Instead, the case will be dismissed once the defendant successfully fulfills the terms of the agreement. 

Deferred adjudication may require community service, probation, and restitution.

A variety of different requirements can be included in a deferred adjudication agreement. These requirements will be determined by the court.

Of course, the defendant's lawyer can assist in negotiating these terms and in giving the defendant advice on whether or not the terms being offered are reasonable. 

Defendants should always discuss deferred adjudication with a lawyer before seeking such an agreement with the court.

Criminal defendants who are fairly certain that they will be found guilty in court almost always stand to benefit from negotiating a deferred adjudication agreement. However, such an agreement may not be in the best interests of a defendant who can be reasonably confident of being found not guilty.

It's important that defendants discuss the deferred adjudication with their lawyers before pursuing such an agreement with the court. To learn more, contact a law firm like Mesenbourg & Sarratori Law Offices.