G. Thayer Williamson Your Drug Crime Attorney

What is the legal definition of deferred adjudication in Texas?

I am often asked what is the definition of deferred adjudication? The term "deferred adjudication" is defined in Article 42.12 Section 5 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure as "when in the Judge's opinion the best interest of society and the defendant will be served, the Judge may, after receiving a plea of guilty or plea of nolo contendere, hearing the evidence, and finding that it substantiates the defendant's guilt, defer proceedings WITHOUT entering an adjudication of guilt, and place the defendant on community supervision." In short, the Judge is saying that despite your plea of guilty, I am not going to find you guilty. I am going to place you on probation. If you are successful on probation the charges will be dismissed, and then you can take steps go remove this case from your record. Defendants need to keep in mind that deferred is only available pretrial. If a Defendant desires to have a trial, the result will either be "not guilty", or "guilty." Per the definition, a jury cannot grant deferred adjudication to a defendant.

If you have any questions about your or a loved one's arrest, or questions about the legal process please contact the Law Office of G. Thayer Williamson. It is very unwise to speak with law enforcement, the DA, or go to Court without consulting with an experienced attorney. I am a former Dallas County Assistant District Attorney, and I have been practicing criminal law for 13 years.