I have criminal clients asking me all the time “will I be going to jail?” The answer of course depends on a case to case situation but for most people who ask me this, I get to tell them no. I talk about probation and the differences between a regular probation and a deferred one. If you’re someone that’s fortunate enough to have probation on the table then it’s good to know the differences between a regular probation and a deferred one.

Regular Probation

If you opt to take regular probation, this means that you are pleading guilty to a charge and the judge is placing you on probation. At this point, you are found guilty of the charge and your record will show a conviction. This conviction has long lasting implications depending on what type of crime you committed.

For one, you can never get this conviction off your record, outside of very special circumstances. Furthermore, once this conviction is on your record, it has a trickledown effect. Depending on the crime, it causes certain rights to be limited, such as your right to own a firearm. A conviction for a drug crime also has a driver’s license suspension attached to it. Also once you have this charge on your record, any subsequent crime that you commit will be treated with less sympathy because you would be seen as a repeat offender.

Deferred Adjudication

Deferred adjudication, on the other hand, is when you plead guilty to a charge in front of the judge, but the judge will wait to find you guilty for a period of time and instead will place you on supervisory period. This period is almost identical to probation in aspects of what you will be asked to do. However, if you are able to successfully make it through this probation period, the Judge won’t ever actually find you guilty but dismiss your charge instead.

This is great because you don’t actually wind up with a conviction on your record. Your record will show that your charge was dismissed and it will only have a limited long term effect. You will still be able to own a firearm, you will still be eligible to work in certain professions, and you will still be able to keep your driver’s license free of suspension. Further, you can later get this crime erased from your record with an order of non disclosure or expunction.

There are other important distinctions between the two. If you do find yourself in a position where you must choose between these two types of supervision, make sure you have all the facts straight and someone to advise you of your rights and ramifications. An attorney’s guidance is always recommended!



Contact Sung R. Kim, Attorney at Law for Aggressive, Hands-On Representation in Longview, Texas