Community Supervision – Deferred Adjudication Probation…

As I wrote in my July 14 post, under the provisions of Article 42.12 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, trial courts are given the authority to place a person on community supervision, also known as probation, in lieu of incarceration. I noted that there are two types of community supervision commonly known as straight probation and deferred adjudication probation.

The topic of this post is deferred adjudication probation.

Article 42.12 §5(a) states:

… when in the judge’s opinion the best interest of society and the defendant will be served, the judge may, after receiving a plea of guilty or nolo contendere, hearing the evidence, and finding that it substantiates the defendant’s guilt, defer further proceedings without entering an adjudication of guilt, and place the defendant on community supervision.

This provision applies when a person enters a plea of guilty or nolo contendere to the trial court. A person cannot receive deferred adjudication probation from a jury.

Under deferred adjudication probation, the court would defer the proceedings without a finding of guilty and place the person on community supervision for a certain period. In most felony cases, the maximum length of the probation period is ten years. While on probation, the person would be required to comply with certain terms and conditions.

If the person successfully completes the probation period, he would be discharged from probation, the charges filed against him would be dismissed, he would not have a final conviction on his record and he would never serve time in prison.

If it is believed that the person has violated a condition of probation, the State may file a motion to revoke community supervision. The court would then conduct a hearing to determine if the person in fact violated a condition of community supervision. If the court determines the person did violate a condition of probation, the court may revoke the community supervision and impose sentence anywhere within the range of punishment prescribed by law.

The four most important points to remember about deferred adjudication probation are: (1) the person avoids serving time in prison if he successfully completes the probation term; (2) the person will not have a final conviction on his record if he successfully completes the probation term; (3) the charges filed against the person will be dismissed if he successfully completes the probation term; and (4) If the person violates a term or condition of probation, the Court may find him guilty and may impose sentence anywhere within the range of punishment prescribed by law.