The Common Law

Deferred Adjudication – How Long Will It Stay on My Record?

Deferred Adjudication – How Long Will It Stay on My Record?

I successfully completed deferred adjudication, but I'm not sure how long it will stay on my record.

The advantage to deferred-adjudication probation is that, if successfully completed, it results in the underlying charges being dismissed by the criminal court. As such, the defendant's criminal record will indicate that the underlying case was disposed of through the successful completion of deferred disposition. However, a record of the deferred-adjudication disposition will stay, absent a request for nondisclosure, on a defendant's record indefinitely. There will still be a public record of the fact that the defendant was charged with the underlying offense, even though a conviction was never entered. This subtle distinction is very important and can cause major problems for the uninformed.

Many defendants mistakenly believe that the lack of a conviction on their case is synonymous with a completely clean criminal history, only to find out after applying for a job that there is a record of their underlying offenses. The problem is that many employers treat a deferred-adjudication disposition in the same negative way they treat a conviction. This problem is only complicated by the fact that deferred-adjudication probation records are not capable of being expunged, unless the underlying offense was a class C misdemeanor. However, deferred-adjudication community supervision records can be made nonpublic for many underlying offenses through a petition for nondisclosure.

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Marrs, Ellis & Hodge LLP,

The material in this column is for informational purposes only. It does not constitute, nor is it a substitute for, legal advice. For advice on your specific facts and circumstances, consult a licensed attorney. You may wish to contact the Lawyer Referral Service of Central Texas, a non-profit public service of the Austin Bar Association, at 512-472-8303 or

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