First time offenders in Texas have a particularly generous plea bargain option available to them. Depending on the type of crime and circumstances of the case, you might be offered deferred adjudication before your case has a chance to go to trial. What is this arrangement, and why should you take it?
Adjudication is much like normal probation; you avoid jail time, and in exchange, you must abide by certain rules and avoid committing crimes for a set period of time. However, it is a much more preferable deal, and it is something that almost every criminal defense lawyer in Houston would advise you to consider.The Weakness of Proabation
While probation is better than winding up in jail, it is still a conviction. Even though you managed to avoid much of the short term damage of your crime, having a crime on your record is still going to have an enormous effect on your life afterwards. It will affect things like your employment opportunities for years to come.How Deferred Adjudication is Different
Meanwhile, a deferred adjudication has no conviction, and if you successfully complete the adjudication period, the case is effectively dismissed. The judge “defers” the finding of guilt, helping you avoid the stigma of being a convicted criminal.
Keep in mind, though, that the arrest, charge, and subsequent dismissal will still be publicly viewable unless your attorney can get it sealed. This is still far preferable to a straight conviction, but many erroneously expect that all traces of their crime will complete disappear after the adjudication period.Is it Worth Accepting?
The thought of admitting guilt is a hard pill to swallow for some people, but you need to understand that your biggest priorities should always be to avoid a conviction on your record and stay out of jail. Deferred adjudication accomplishes exactly that. Unless you attorney says that you stand a great chance in a trial, accepting this bargain is likely your best choice.