Many people have misconceptions about deferred adjudication probation in Texas. The most common misconception is that the offense is erased from your record if you successfully complete the deferred probation period. This belief is incorrect.
The Truth About Deferred Adjudication
A deferred sentence will still be on your criminal history after you complete the probation period. To erase the record and be able to deny the arrest, you must file a petition for non-disclosure.
Furthermore, some deferred sentences are ineligible for Non-Disclosure. For example, any crime involving family violence is ineligible for non-disclosure. So, if you take deferred adjudication for a Class A assault that involves family violence, that sentence will stay on your criminal history forever.
Finally, some deferred sentences require a waiting period before the petition for non-disclosure can be filed. For example, some misdemeanors like assault or unlawfully carrying a weapon require a two year waiting period before the petition can be filed. That is, you must wait two years after completing your deferred probation before attempting to clear your record. For felonies, the waiting period is five years (as of 9-1-2005).
Many lawyers convince clients to take deferred sentences by arguing that the record will eventually be sealed. Remember that some offenses can never be sealed, and some offenses require the waiting period. So while deferred adjudication is often a good deal, sometimes you might be better off fighting the charge and proving your innocence.