January 24, 2014 by David Nachtigall
There are two basic forms of community supervision in Texas – probation (sometimes referred to as “straight” probation) and deferred adjudication.
The typical conditions of straight probation and deferred adjudication are similar and may include fines, community services, anti-crime classes, and in some cases, mandatory jail time. The main differences arise (1) when a person violates the terms of his or her community supervision or (2) when the community supervision is successfully completed.
When someone is placed on straight probation, the maximum amount of jail time the judge may asses in the event of a violation is determined at the time the person is placed on probation. For example, a person may be placed on probation for two years, but the prosecutor and judge may agree that the maximum jail time in the event of a violation would be six months. A person who violates a deferred adjudication, however, may be sentenced anywhere in the full range of punishment with no cap on the maximum within that range.
A person placed on straight probation has a final conviction for the offense on his or her record beginning at the time the probation begins. A conviction associated with a straight probation is not subject to expunction or sealing in the vast majority of cases. When a person is placed on deferred adjudication, a finding of guilt is withheld, and there is no conviction placed on the person’s record at that time. If a person successfully completes a deferred adjudication, the case is dismissed, and the person may file a petition for nondisclosure at the appropriate time.
Both forms of community supervision have advantages and disadvantages, and consulting an experienced criminal defense attorney who understands the law is essential to achieving the desired outcome.