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What Does Texas State Law Have To Say About Your Legal Status AFTER You Have Successfully Completed Deferred Adjudication?

P L E N T Y  !!!

What doe Texas State Law have to day about yoru legal status after you have ... (Listen to Audio)


Ddisclaimer:
A lawyer is not providing this information to you; we are not lawyers, if you seek to truly understand the law surrounding a deferred adjudication then please contact a real lawyer. This information reflects the authors' views of the injustice of deferred adjudication in Texas.
Click here for a legal understanding of deferred adjudication law from a real lawyers.



Okay, you have just successfully completed all of the terms of your deferred adjudication;  you paid all of your court fines/costs,  you successfully completed all of your court ordered probation/community supervision provisions.  You are determined to
not ever get arrested again.  You are now ready to move forward with your life.  You go to apply for that dream job or perhaps you make application to lease that sharp looking apartment situated in the nicer part of town.....and then....

WHAM!   For the very first time ever,  reality starts to sink in, and it bites you all the way down to your core as you begin to realize that your attorney, who once told you that if you completed all the terms of your deferred adjudication (hereafter referred to simply as "DA"), then your record would be  "wiped clean"  (whatever that means).  The burning sensation becomes even more intense when you realize that your attorney, whom you have just paid many hundreds, if not thousands of dollars for his/her services, has lied to you and that your record has NOT been   "wiped clean"  after all.  While it is true that you have not incurred a  "final conviction"  on your record  (assuming you successfully completed your DA),  what your lawyer conveniently neglected to mention to you is that the following two legal documents  ARE  available for the whole entire world to see, including  potential employers,  apartment leasing managers,  volunteer agencies,  friends, spouses,  credit reporting bureaus, insurance companies, banks, credit unions  (you get the picture):  Those two documents/records are:

  1. original record of the arrest/police report
  2. record of the action of the court (sentence of deferred adjudication)

Those two public records will be on public display for the rest of your life.  And I can guarantee you that they are going to cause you major problems - if not right this very second then for sure later on down the road at some point!  And make no mistake about it, employers, apartment leasing managers, etc.  WILL treat your arrest record and deferred adjudication as though it were a conviction, even though it is not, as defined by Texas state law!

So,  does Texas state law have anything to say about how you, as an individual, can legally be treated?  You better believe it does!  Keep reading.....you might be shocked and even treated to a rather pleasant surprise!

Article 42.12 Sec. 5(c) Texas Code of Criminal Procedure states in part:

On expiration of a community supervision period imposed under Subsection (a) of this section, if the judge has not proceeded to adjudication of guilt, the judge shall dismiss the proceedings against the defendant and discharge him. The judge may dismiss the proceedings and discharge a defendant, other than a defendant charged with an offense requiring the defendant to register as a sex offender under Chapter 62, as added by Chapter 668, Acts of the 75th Legislature, Regular Session, 1997, prior to the expiration of the term of community supervision if in the judge's opinion the best interest of society and the defendant will be served. The judge may not dismiss the proceedings and discharge a defendant charged with an offense requiring the defendant to register under Chapter 62, as added by Chapter 668, Acts of the 75th Legislature, Regular Session, 1997. Except as provided by Section 12.42(g), Penal Code, a dismissal and discharge under this section may not be deemed a conviction for the  purposes of disqualifications or disabilities imposed by law for conviction of an offense.

Regarding the dismissal of charges pertaining to a defendant having successfully completed his/her court ordered deferred adjudication,  Art 42.12 Sec 20 (a) Texas Code of Criminal Procedure states:

"At any time, after the defendant has satisfactorily completed one-third of the original community supervision period or two years of community supervision, whichever is less, the period of community supervision may be reduced or terminated by the judge. Upon the satisfactory fulfillment of the conditions of community supervision, and the expiration of the period of community supervision, the judge, by order duly entered, shall amend or modify the original sentence imposed, if necessary, to conform to the community supervision period and shall discharge the defendant. If the judge discharges the defendant under this section, the judge may set aside the verdict or permit the defendant to withdraw his plea, and shall dismiss the accusation, complaint, information or indictment against the defendant, who shall thereafter be released from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the offense or crime of which he has been convicted or to which he has pleaded guilty"

And finally,  you can read the full text of  what former Texas Attorney General Dan Morales ruled in  Opinion  DM-349, dated  May 31, 1995.  You can view it in its entirety at:

                         http://www.oag.state.tx.us/opinopen/opinions/op48morales/dm-349.htm

Basically, Mr. Morales stated that a person who has completed  deferred adjudicated has not been convicted!

In other words,  if your arrest was  successfully deferred adjudicated and dismissed,  then you have legally NEVER been convicted, charges were dismissed, and you have ultimately not been found guilty!  And you are not to be treated as if it were a conviction!  That's right!  That's what the law says....read it......its right there in plain english  (ok, "legalese")  available for all to see!

So....you are now wondering.....if   Texas state law says, in writing, that you have NOT been convicted and that there was NO final finding of guilt....and you are not to suffer any penalties or disabilities,  then what legal right does an employer have to deny you employment?  What legal right does an apartment manager have to deny you an apartment?  What legal right does an insurance company have to deny you life insurance, medical insurance, or a bond?  What right does the state have to deny you an  occupational license, such as a nursing license or real estate license?

These are questions that we have been asking our state representatives for almost a year now.  In response to our questions, these state representatives have now sat up and taken notice that there is a  "problem out there that is not going to go away".  It is our purpose to continue to keep this a "front burner" issue until it has been solved in either the courts or the Texas legislature.

Many of you have written to us and asked us:  WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP?  The answer is very simple.  What you can be doing to help is this: The key to solving this legal crisis faced by so many people in Texas is, education.  What this means is that we, as private citizens affected by DA must take the initiative to contact our local/state representatives and state senators to let them know what is going on and that WE expect THEM to draft and support legislation that will end the debilitating, negative effects of DA (deferred adjudication).  This means meeting with them in person. A telephone call will not do it.  An e-mail will not do it.  A letter will not do it.  It has been our experience that whenever a person takes enough personal initiative to meet with his/her representative/senator in their office, it gets their attention,  BIG TIME!  I have had more than one Texas state rep tell me that the only way that THEY know what is going on about deferred adjudication (or anything else, for that matter) is when ordinary citizens like you and me contact THEM and then let them know that you wish to arrange a personal meeting with them in their office.  I cannot emphasize enough how powerful this is!  It literally gets their attention like nothing else will!  Forging personal, working relationships with these people is one of the single, most powerful things that you can be doing as a private citizen to one day secure all of your rights back as a Texas citizen.

The other thing that we as an organization need to be doing is holding regularly scheduled meetings in the various cities/towns all over Texas in the local areas that each of us live in.  This will have the effect of doing several things:

  1. Grow our organization in size, scope, political power
  2. Allow people to "network" with other people to share advice, make lasting friendships, offer employment tips, referrals, etc.
  3. This will give our organization prestige and notoriety with our elected state reps and senators and Governor.

Perhaps more than anything else, we need to start having regularly scheduled meetings in your area.  We need leaders to emerge and start taking the initiative to growing this organization.  We have come a long way since September 2002 when we first started this organization, TRDA ( Texans For the Reform of Deferred Adjudication) (www.deferredadjudication.org) 

What we need is to identify, locate, and organize as many people as you possibly can.  Val and I will show you how to do this. One last thing.  In this battle , the Internet is one of our biggest allies and most powerful tools. By using various internet  communications tools, such as Yahoo Instant Messenger,  we as an organization can "chat" real-time in a large chat conference room which will allow us to hold a "virtual",  computerized meeting of all our members in the state, just as if they were all physically present in one large conference room!  This is an incredible tool and best of all, it's free.  I strongly urge you to install  Yahoo Instant Messenger if you have not done so already.  After you have installed it,  please add my yahoo id to your  "buddy list"  so that we can begin chatting online immediately.  My yahoo id is:

                     rob_sandifer2002

Installing this tool will allow us to truly work together and coordinate our efforts in an efficient, and powerful way.  Please do this as soon as possible and encourage others to do likewise. In order for you to have regularly scheduled meetings, that means everyone must know how to contact everyone else so that meetings can be planned and scheduled.  Therefore for those of you who are truly serious about wanting to one day be free from the legal ramifications of  DA, 

So,  please sign up and start making friends and contacts today!

Written by
Rob Sandifer
6/11/2003

 


we are asking that you fill out our online roster sheet and give contact information so that all of our web site visitors, members, and volunteers can begin to discover all of the many fine people we have in our organization and plan activities to serve your needs.  Having meetings is crucial to us growing as an organization and thereby improving our ability to deal with the issue of DA.  So, go to the link provided at the end of this article and fill out the roster sheet.  After you do that, then please start contacting the people listed who live near you.  For what purpose you might ask?  To make a friend.  To discover someone else who has suffered from DA.  Perhaps you need some possible job leads.  Or maybe you just need someone to talk to who is going through the exact same thing you are.  That is the purpose of  our organization;  to be a self-help group as well as a political action committee (PAC) dedicated to helping people help themselves and each other.

 

Disclaimer:
A lawyer is not providing this information to you; we are not lawyers, if you seek to truly understand the law surrounding a deferred adjudication then please contact a real lawyer. This information reflects the authors' views of the injustice of deferred adjudication in Texas. Click here for a legal understanding of deferred adjudication law from a real lawyers.

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