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Deferred Adjudication in Dallas

Legal Help Approaching and Considering Deferred Adjudication

Texas is notorious for responding to crimes with strict sentences. However, in some scenarios, deferred adjudication is offered, and with it, a chance at a more lenient punishment and dismissed case. However, beware: Deferred adjudication, while attractive because of its potential to help you avoid a prison sentence, could stand to have adverse effects on your case and future. Before considering and accepting this type of probation, it’s important to consult an experienced attorney from the Mathur Law Offices, P.C.

Contact Mathur Law Offices, P.C. for more information on deferred adjudication as it pertains to your DWI case.

What You Need to Know About Deferred Adjudication

Deferred adjudication is often compared to probation and is relatively common throughout Texas. Still, it’s important to recognize its distinctions.

This probation-like offering is only available when the defendant agrees to plead guilty. However, the judge will not immediately find the individual guilty. Instead, the defendant is given time to complete probationary terms as agreed upon in court while the case remains open.

When a defendant successfully completes probation, the judge will dismiss the case instead of entering a ruling that finds the defendant guilty. However, if the defendant fails to abide by all the conditions of their probation, the judge will find the defendant guilty and proceed with sentencing.

The most notable difference between deferred adjudication and straight probation is in the effect each have on your criminal record. While standard probation always includes a conviction and a mark on your criminal record, successful completion of deferred adjudication can dismiss a case and avoid any inclusion of the DWI on your record.

What Do Defendants Need to Do During the Probationary Period?

Judges will ask different things of defendants depending on the specifics of the case. Still, some common probation requirements for those charged with DWI may include:

  • Attending regular meetings with a probation officer
  • Avoiding alcohol or drugs
  • Community service
  • Court-ordered counseling
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device
  • Paying any necessary fees, such as court costs or restitution
  • Refraining from further criminal behavior

Any violations to your deferred adjudication can result in court action. While minor violations may result in a warning, more serious breaches may lead the judge to enter a guilty plea. Once this happens, your conviction will appear on your criminal record and the court will continue to determine your sentence.

Is Deferred Adjudication Right for Me?

Before deciding if deferred adjudication is right for you, you must first determine if you qualify. As of September 2019, first-time DWI offenders are eligible for deferred adjudication if:

  • Their blood alcohol concentration was below .15%
  • They were not alleged to have caused an accident
  • They were not alleged to have caused an injury
  • They were not alleged to have caused the death of another individual

If your case qualifies for deferred adjudication, you must weigh the costs, both literal and figurative, against the potential gains. While avoiding a conviction will rid you of any punitive fines, those who partake in deferred adjudication will have to pay for the installation of their ignition interlock device, restitution, supervisory costs, and administrative fees.

If you do successfully dismiss your case, you must remain equally careful of any further DWI convictions. While a first DWI dismissed by deferred adjudication will not appear on a criminal record, it is still visible to law enforcement. This makes a second arrest susceptible to the same penalties as a second DWI, even if it is your first conviction.

Still, it’s worth noting the importance and benefits of a cleared criminal record, especially for:

  • Someone who may need to apply for a loan in the future
  • Students
  • Those who like to travel
  • Those with professional licenses
  • United States visa holders

For some, the temporary tasks of probation and the associated fees are worth getting their record cleared. For others, the costs are too great to be a suitable option. Our lawyers will help you evaluate your case and decide whether to pursue deferred adjudication or proceed with legal defense against the charge.

Contact the Mathur Law Offices, P.C. for more information regarding deferred adjudication in Dallas and whether it’s right for you.

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