What is wrong with Deferred Adjudication for family violence cases?
Family Violence Deferred Adjudication is better than straight probation in most criminal cases because it is not a conviction and your criminal history can be partially sealed if an order of non-disclosure is granted after you successfully complete the probationary period. Non-disclosure also allows you to legally deny an arrest on employment applications.
Unfortunately, the non-disclosure law specifically excludes anyone ever convicted of or placed on deferred adjudication probation for a case involving family violence. In other words, entering into a plea bargain agreement for deferred adjudication will make you permanently ineligible for non-disclosure in the future, even for unrelated charges.
In addition, deferred adjudication is treated like a conviction for some purposes, such as federal firearms prohibitions and enhancement of future family violence charges. Thus, for family violence cases, deferred adjudication probation has many of the same consequences as straight probation.
That said, you should not automatically reject a plea bargain offer just because it includes the word “deferred.” There are pretrial diversion programs that are sometimes offered in certain Austin courts that are called Deferred Prosecution and Deferred Disposition. Successful completion of pretrial diversion usually results in a complete dismissal and makes it possible to obtain an Expunction. Expunction is even better than non-disclosure because it completely removes a case from your criminal history and causes all records of the arrest and prosecution to be deleted and destroyed.
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