If you have a clear record and are charged with a case such as a theft or drug possession, there are two ways to keep these off your criminal record. There are benefits to both, and you should talk with a criminal defense attorney about which of these is right for you.
Deferred Adjudication in a Criminal Case
Deferred adjudication in Texas can be as short as 6 months in some courts, usually up to a 1 year probation. You will have to plead guilty to the judge, and the judge will explain they are setting aside finding of guilt until you’ve completed probation successfully.
As part of the deferred adjudication probation, you will be required to do random drug testing, a drug/alcohol evaluation, 12-24 hours of community service, an anti-theft class and meet with a probation officer monthly.
The result of successfully completing these requirements is that you will have no criminal conviction, and you can later file a petition for nondisclosure of this case. That means it can be sealed from most people but remains visible to government agencies and law enforcement.
Pretrial Diversion for Criminal Charges
Pretrial diversion is a program you first must apply to be accepted into. Every court has different requirements, but most include you write a letter to DA admitting guilt, show proof of employment or education, and letters of recommendation from non-family members.
If you are accepted into the program, you will sign a 1 year contract with the DA’s office, that lays out the details of your agreement. These usually include similar conditions to deferred adjudication, but with 80 hrs community service, and there is a zero tolerance policy for any mistakes made during the year.
The result after a year is the outright dismissal of the case. You have to wait 2 years from the date of dismissal, but you can then file a motion to expunge from your criminal history, which completely clears the charge off your record.
Get Help Protecting Your Rights
Before making any decisions on how to handle your criminal charges, the most important thing you can do is speak to an experienced Houston criminal attorney. Lisa Shapiro Strauss Attorney at Law is a dedicated criminal defense attorney who has helped many people throughout Harris County to find the best possible resolution to their criminal cases.
As a former prosecutor, Lisa understands well the serious, lasting consequences associated with criminal charges. She knows how to assess the facts of a case to help her clients make an informed decision on how to move forward. She fights hard to protect her clients’ rights safeguard their records.
With more than 20 years of experience, Lisa is well-versed in the criminal justice system and knows how the prosecution will approach your case. She draws on her experience and skills to thoroughly review the details of your case and help you implement the best defense strategy.
Whether you’re facing drug charges, domestic violence accusations or a theft case, contact Lisa Shapiro Strauss today.