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What Georgetown’s First Time Domestic Violence Offenders Should Know About Deferred Adjudication

Defendant in courtThis is the next post in our series discussing how to deal with charges related to domestic violence in Texas. Our last article discussed what to do if you are falsely accused of domestic violence. In this post, we will be discussing the pros and cons of deferred adjudication. This is something which is sometimes an option for first time domestic violence offenders in Georgetown and the rest of Williamson County, Texas.

Georgetown area defendants may prefer deferred adjudication in order to avoid a domestic violence conviction

Deferred adjudication is a type of plea deal that is often available to first time domestic violent offenders. This option is typically a possibility in Georgetown and Williamson County if one is being charged with a misdemeanor and if the underlying crime did not involve severe bodily harm or a deadly weapon. Under a deferred adjudication the defendant will plead guilty but the Court will then delay formal entry of the conviction. In exchange for a guilty or no contest plea, the prosecution will then agree that the defendant may continue to live their life outside of prison and on probation. The Court may order the defendant to complete community service, therapy hours, or anger management. The defendant will also generally be ordered to follow other probation rules, such as they may be subject to drug testing, and may not break any other laws during this time period. If the person completes their probation period successfully then the charges will typically be dismissed and a conviction will not appear on the accused’s criminal record. The defendant may also be able to have the record of the deferred adjudication sealed from public record with a non-disclosure.

The negative aspect of a deferred adjudication is if the person does not successfully complete probation then they are not entitled to defend their case further as they have already plead guilty. Because the defendant was required to plead guilty or no contest as part of the deal a Judge will enter their guilty plea and proceed to sentencing if probation is violated. Once a person’s deferred adjudication is violated then a Judge may sentence them to a punishment within any range of the statutory term. This means that there is a possibility a person could be given the maximum sentence for a crime once deferred adjudication is violated.

Georgetown residents charged with domestic violence should only accept deferred adjudication if they are confident they can satisfy the requirements

Prior to taking a deferred adjudication deal it is important to realistically consider if probation can be successfully completed. When a deferred adjudication agreement is violated then a defendant often receives a sentence that is far worse than it would have been if he would have gone to Court and lost, or worked out a different plea with the prosecution. A Judge may be less lenient on a person who had the opportunity to show the Court that they wanted to rehabilitate, and then failed to do so. When a defendant is considering deferred adjudication, it is important to discuss the pros and cons with your attorney. You must weigh the burden of spending a year or more under probation with the chance of taking your case to trial and winning. If you have doubts or concerns about being able to successfully complete your probation period and stay out of trouble then it is important to discuss these risks with your attorney carefully.

If you are being charged with first-time domestic violence then you may have options. Contact our criminal defense lawyers today. In addition to Georgetown, we service the surrounding communities of Austin, Bartlett, Cedar Park, Florence, Granger, Hutto, Jarrell, Leander, Liberty Hill, Round Rock, Taylor, Thrall, and Weir.

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