Deferred Adjudication is a legal proceeding where the judge may, after receiving a plea of guilt or plea of nolo contendre (where a defendant neither admits nor denies guilt), hearing the evidence, and finding that the evidence substantiates the defendant's guilt, defer further proceedings without entering an adjudication of guilt. The judge then places the defendant on community supervision, which is similar to probation. This proceeding, done in open court, is recorded by a judge's order that becomes a public record.

Community supervision lasts for a specified length of time and carries with it a number of requirements to complete. After successful completion of the community supervision and other requirements, the court then usually dismisses the underlying criminal charge and discharges the person from community supervision requirements. Because of this, it's a common misconception that deferred adjudication does not become a part of a person's criminal record. Although the underlying charge might be dismissed, the court does not order the expunction (erasure) of any of these records: the deferred adjudication proceedings; the underlying charge that was dismissed; or the arrest tied to that charge. Both the dismissal order and the initial court order granting deferred adjudication generally remain public records and reportable to the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS).

Expunction, according to the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, mainly relates only to the process of expunging (destroying) a person's arrest record. Chapter 55 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure outlines the strict qualifications for expunction, and the subsequent procedures to carry it out. Generally, expunction is a time-consuming legal process that usually requires hiring a lawyer. Again, it does not automatically happen whenever the judge dismisses the underlying criminal charge that gave rise to a deferred adjudication.

So, unless you received an order expunging your arrest record, both the fact you were arrested and received a deferred adjudication will most likely be a part of the criminal history record information, compiled by DPS. This history is shared with the DSHS, pursuant to Chapter 411 of the Texas Government Code, Section 411.110.


Texas Code of Criminal Procedure states that Deferred Adjudication, successfully completed, should "not be deemed a conviction for the purposes of disqualifications or disabilities imposed by law for conviction of an offense".

This information explains the Consequences and Benefits of Deferred Adjudication. When you are charged with a crime in the State of Texas you can be punished in three different ways
a) Prison
b) Probation (final conviction with supervised release)
c) Deferred Adjudication.

1. What is Deferred Adjudication?
Deferred Adjudication is a special kind of probation. People are placed on Deferred Adjudication once they admit guilt (or enter a no contest plea) and the judge agrees to defer a finding of guilt. If you complete the terms of Deferred Adjudication your case is dismissed. However, a dismissal under deferred adjudication is not the same as an acquital and that dismissal can still show up on your criminal record.

2. Who qualifies for Deferred Adjudication?
Several types of people do not qualify for Deferred Adjudication:
a) People who have been convicted of a prior felony
b) People who are accused of a DWI
c) People charged with certain Sexual Assaults are not eligible for Deferred Adjudication.

3. What are the Benefits?
The benefits of Deferred Adjudication are that your case is dismissed if you complete the terms of your probation. However, to enter into Deferred Adjudication you have to admit responsibility or enter into a no contest plea.

4. Are there any disadvantages to taking Deferred Adjudication?
Yes. Once you take a plea it is very difficult to have that plea undone. If you are not guilty, or believe that there are problems with the State's case you may want to take your case to trial. If you do not satisfactorily complete the requirements of your deferred adjudication you will be subject to the full range of punishment by the courts. Prior to entering into a plea bargain, even a plea bargain that recommends deferred adjudication, you should consider the strengths and weaknesses of your case.

NOTE: The information and explanations provided by InfoCheckUSA regarding Deferred Adjudication, Expungement or any other other legal issue are general in nature and educational in intent, not legal advice. InfoCheckUSA is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney.