What Is The Meaning of Deferred Disposition or Deferred Adjudication


What Is The Meaning of Deferred Disposition or Deferred Adjudication
What Is The Meaning of Deferred Disposition or Deferred Adjudication


There’s a lot of confusion about the terms “deferred disposition” and “deferred adjudication” in Texas.

Deferred adjudication is a type of actual probation, for a Class B misdemeanor or higher charge, where the judge says (in legalese), “Based on your plea of No Contest or Guilty, Icould find you guilty, but I’m not going to. I’m going to place you on probation, and if you jump through the hoops of probation, at the end of the case you will never be found guilty of the charge.”
To defer – to put off, or postpone. To adjudicate – in the criminal context it means to find you guilty. So when the judge places a defendant on deferred adjudication, he is postponing finding the person guilty, and will never find them guilty, if they successfully complete the terms of probation.
In Texas, that means a real, formal probation with a monthly visit to a probation officer, minimum community service hours, urinalysis for drugs and alcohol, fines, court costs and $62 per month probation fees.
Again, the major distinction here is that this is only for Class B and Class A misdemeanors, and felony charges in Texas. It’s not for Class C, that is, traffic ticket level offenses.
Deferred adjudications are not expungeable, but most are eligible for Motions of Non-Disclosure.
Deferred disposition is only for Class C charges, and is not a formal reporting probation. The theory is the same – that is, if you pay a (smaller) fine, usually take a class, and stay out of trouble, at the end of the deferral period you are not convicted of the offense.
There is no probation officer, or monthly meeting. I suppose you could say that you are on your own probation, but that’s it. Some clerk will pull your file at the end of the term, check to see that monies are paid, certificates for classes are turned in, and run a criminal background check to see that you did indeed stay out of trouble. Then the case is dismissed.
For Class C Assaults, Theft, Public Intoxication, Minor in Possession and similar non-traffic offenses, this is the same as agreeing to take defensive driving, pay a small fine, and not pick up any more traffic tickets to get a speeding ticket dismissed.
In a successfully completed deferred disposition, you are specifically by statute entitled to seek an expunction, not just the less complete sealing of records.
Part of this confusion is perpetuated by Class C prosecutors, and even some Municipal Court judges, who continually refer to this process as “deferred adjudication”. In fact, the two are very different.

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10 Comments for “What Is The Meaning of Deferred Disposition or Deferred Adjudication”

Shane harris


Hi, I have class C Misdemeanor-disorderly conduct on my record. It was sentenced/disposed on 3/6/14. Was given 180 days probation under deferred adjudication. Under disposition it states- DEFERRED.
Can I get this off my record immediately?
If not will this affect getting a job?
Was I found guilty?
Thank you



A friend and I were at Walmart, she stole some items and they stopped us. Called the police and she was arrested for warrants she had out. I was written a citation for theft under $100. (Even though I didn’t take anything) I have until May 20th to go up to the court. It’s a class C misdemeanor but I’ve never been in trouble and do not want this on my record. But I am not able to hire an attorney. The citation is $371
and I can take a $75 online theft course then as long as I don’t get in trouble it will go on record as a dismissal from what I was told. If I take my chances with a judge it’s 50/50. Can you give me some advice?



Hi Mary,
I’m going through the same situation.
I have not committed the crime though. I forgot to scan an item by mistake and left there on my cart.
I’m going to the court. What was the final outcome?
Did you get your case dismissed?
Did you expunge it? where u able to do it yourself or hired an attorney.



Please respond and help me.
I was not arrested nor was given a court date. Asked to pay the fine and take the course.
I want to know how you handled the situation and got it expunged?




I have class C speeding 8 miles over, I know and feel very strongly I am not guilty but I am sure you have heard that a lot. I want to plead not? I live 400 miles from were i would have to go in front of the judge and I understand a 50/50 for me, and I am afraid the cost would be way more than paying for the ticket if he cited toward me being guilty?

So I would like your advice as to what my better option would be.? Is it possible that I plead not guilty and at the same time, request a deferred deposition? I have not had a speeding ticket since my teenage years, I have a good driving record, I just do not know what my best option is. If I ask for the driving safety course, it is like a plea of guilty with a fee of $112.00?

What should I do?