Law Office of
Rhett Braniff

The short answer is an emphatic no! Deferred adjudication does not mean off your record.

A common question we get in our office is in regard to deferred adjudication. People often ask why the record of a completed deferred adjudication is showing up on their criminal history. Since the client completed their deferred adjudication, then they assume the record of the arrest and probation was removed from their criminal history. Unfortunately, this assumption is wrong. Deferred adjudication is not a “conviction” and is quite different than many other resolutions to criminal cases. If you successfully complete a deferred adjudication, you can honestly say you were never actually convicted of the crime charged if asked that specific question. It does not follow that the offense will not appear on your criminal history. In fact, often what will show is not only evidence of the arrest, but evidence of the fact that you were put on probation.

There are opportunities for one that has completed a deferred adjudication probation to petition the trial court for an order for non-disclosure. An order of non-disclosure is an order from the trial to DPS, ordering them not to disclose your criminal history to private entities. An order of non-disclosure seals your criminal history from the view of these private parties. An order of non-disclosure is limited, and it will not prevent government entities, law-enforcement agencies, prosecutors, the FBII, and many others from seeing the charge. if you want to get a professional license, those entities will always be able to see the deferred adjudication. Even with an order of non-disclosure, you will not able to deny the existence of the charge. 

Cleaning up your criminal history is never automatic, regardless of the outcome of the case. Another misconception people have, and something we are asked about quite often, is how and when charges are removed from your record. Even a case is dismissed because prosecutors realize they have insufficient evidence, and that you were charged by mistake, that dismissal is not going to automatically clear your criminal history. Criminal history can only be cleared with an expunction, and you can only get an expunction under certain limited circumstances in which there was no probation and/or no conviction Often people get bad advice, or they misunderstand the advice they received. As a result, they believe that deferred adjudication means no conviction and therefore means that when they have completed probation, record of the charge will be erased.  This misconception, is far from the truth. Not only will people be able to see it but the idea that it can somehow one day be removed from your history is not at all accurate.  Non-disclosure doesn’t remove anything at all. It only seals the criminal history from view of certain entities. 

Sometimes a deferred adjudication is the best option for your case. Sometimes it is the least worst outcome and advisable in light of everything else that could possibly happen to you during your criminal charge. What deferred adjudication is not is a magic resolution that leaves you in the same position you were in before you were ever arrested and charged with the offense.

The Law Office of Rhett Braniff is happy to provide a free consultation to discuss your particular case, and your eligibility for non-disclosure.