In Texas, there are three common probations. These are deferred adjudication probation, “straight” probation, and a special kind of probation called pre-trial diversion. Depending on the kind of case you have, your criminal history, and the county where your offense occurred, you may qualify for some or all of these types of probation. For the purposes of this blog, we are talking about offenses that are a Class B misdemeanor or higher. Class C tickets can be resolved with probation as well, but those are usually shorter periods of time with fewer conditions.
Deferred adjudication probation is when you have admitted your guilt to a judge but you have not been adjudicated or convicted of the alleged offense. This is significant because you would generally not have to disclose a deferred adjudication case if you are asked if you have been “convicted” of the offense. Deferred adjudication probation is also more likely to qualify for a nondisclosure, which is an order sealing your records from the public. Even though there is no formal conviction, deferred adjudication can be considered a conviction in some immigration situations. Deferred adjudication is also considered a conviction in DWI and family violence cases, because deferred adjudication can still result in enhancements of future cases.
“Straight” probation is probation with a conviction. Another word for conviction on this probation is adjudication. Depending on the type of case and your criminal history, a case in which you are placed on “straight” probation for a misdemeanor offense MAY qualify for a nondisclosure. In felony cases, if you are placed on straight probation and successfully complete the terms and length of your probation, then you may seek judicial clemency. Judicial clemency effectively restores most of the rights lost by the conviction and makes it seem as if you were on deferred adjudication instead. Your right to request judicial clemency is available for 30 days after your probation ends.
Once you are on probation, there is no significant difference between deferred and straight probation. Both probations require you to meet with your probation officer, make your payments, and complete any and all required conditions. The primary difference between deferred adjudication probation and “straight” probation is straight probation results in a conviction and may have collateral consequences such as driver’s license suspensions.
Pre-trial diversion is a special kind of probation that may not be available in all counties for all cases, but is a very good way to resolve cases when possible. With pre-trial diversion, you admit your guilt to an offense, but the case is “diverted” from the Court while you are on probation. You still report to a probation officer and stay out of trouble for an agreed amount of time, but the case is not filed and you are not convicted of the offense. The most significant benefit of this type of probation is that you can generally qualify for an expunction of your arrest and plea if you successfully complete the pre-trial diversion program.
Should you fail to complete some or all of your probation conditions, your probation officer can file a motion to revoke your probation. This motion does NOT automatically revoke your probation, nor does it automatically result in the maximum sentence. Instead, this creates a new case for which you will have court dates and your attorney can negotiate a new plea deal for you. If you are concerned about the possibility of your probation being revoked, please contact us for more information on what to expect and how we can help.
There are often time-sensitive deadlines to be aware of, so it is best to speak to an attorney about your situation so he or she can advise you on the specific ways you can resolve your case.