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Testimonials

The testimonials here are real, the names have been changed to protect the privacy of the individual who submitted the story to us. The message is consistent. The emails are numerous, these are some of the emails that we have amassed.


Mr. Gonzalez,

I was arrested and subsequently given deferred adjudication probabtion of 8 yrs for possession of drugs. Never in my life had i been in trouble and was in another persons house when the police came in and arrested me. The warrant they had was for the person who owned the house. Anyway i served my probabtion and was released early without any further complications. This arrest record is haunting me like crazy. I am now a medical professional and I am still having problems with this record. I read recently that if i went into the district clerks office that under article 42.12 i could ask them to at least change the arrest record to say dimissed on it. Is this true? What can i do to help change these laws? Texas is the worst state i have ever seen or heard of when it comes to this kind of fraud. My lawyer clearly represented to me that this would not be on my record if i finished probation without a hitch. HELP! Or should i say how can i HELP?

VM


Mr. Sandifer,

I am still reeling from all of this. I have lost so much sleep, cried so much, and am not thinking straight to help anyone, really. However, I want to help so very much. I want my son to have a decent life and I am so scared right now. I didn't trust anyone thoughout this process, I was asked over and over, "do you understand this?" However we were not understanding 1/2 of the process anyway, and I am telling you the truth. My son had a clean record, is a Senior, is 17, is a good kid, no drugs, no alcohol, and the police department wrote their report in such a way that you would
think he is the next serial killer waiting to happen. However, the lawyer did a psych eval that did "help" his case, but I am upset over a car chase now being a "felony". Most of the time these "evading" cases are with the young people. Also, the state considered him an "adult" yet this is a kid who lives at home, attends school, and is under my authority. He is active in church, a leader in his school, makes fairly good grades. It is a shame that this thing is so damaging to him. They tried to charge him with using the car as a "deadly weapon" however, he never aimed the car at the officer or anything of the sort!! He did not hurt anyone (thank goodness) and he wrecked because of this. Why do they have to push kids so hard?? And, now, have this stigma for life?? I must be
involved!!

Thanks,
Leah


Hi Robert,

I recently posted a question on the forum about what procedures
to take in order to get my records expunged since the passing of SB1477.
You said for me to email you my info and you might possibly help me in
locating an affordable attorney. Any help or advice you could give me would
be very much appreciated. I will write you soon with my experiences with
dealing with DA, as I have dealt with it for many years, and most recently
how it kept me from getting a job with the Texas DPS Crime Lab even though I
was a fully qualified forensic chemist. Anyways, thank you for your help.

Sincerely,

John Dutton


Subject: SB 1477 NOT GOOD ENOUGH

The passing of SB1477 is a positive step in the right direction, and better than no bill at all...but it definitely needs to improve next time around. For any of those agengies or organizations(that Rob referred to)to still have access to our background records, even though they are SUPPOSEDLY expunged after the required years, is unacceptable!!!! The records once sealed should be seen by NOONE!!!! And who is to say that other companies(such as employers or property managers )don't still have access some way to them. I had a very, very frustrating and humiliating incident happen to me this weekend, here in Lubbock. I had to move back in with my parents on a temp basis, following my legal problems last August, but was recently TRYING AND STRUGGLING to get back on my feet and rent an apartment(my parents are having to move to my grandmother's house..she has been put in nursing home with Alzheimers). So, after meeting with the Apartment Manager and discussing application fees, pet deposits, my parents agreeing to co-sign,being shown the apartment, and almost completely filling out the entire apartment application, I get to the end of the application, AND THERE WAS THE QUESTION...."Have you ever served Deferred Adjudication".....I took a deep breath, and explained my situation to the Manager about being on Deferred right now, and what for, and that I was taking steps with Counseling, etc (also telling her Non-violent crime..first offense ever)...Her attitude and demeanor totally changed..she almost "moonwalked" out of her office, like I was going to jump her(and I am a female( She asked questions regarding my probation term, and who my Officer was...and all the while, my poor parents are also having to go through and see their daughter go through this humiliating experience!!!! Needless to say, the Manager said she would see what she could do..took our $25 application fee...and never heard from her....it's been 3 days now...I WAS SOOOOO ANGRY AND FRUSTRATED.....I feel like I have totally ruined the rest of my entire life...(I also found out recently that all the years I was on anti-depression meds, I should have been Diagnosed with Bipolar..and is probably a big reason why I did things I did....Bipolars are very impulsive and have risky behaviors)....So, my parents told me that they saw first hand, how people like th e apartment manager, put everyone that is on or has been on DA in one category, regardless of what the crime was. I can understand more if the Managers do not want to rent to Violent and Sexual offenders, to keep their tenants safe...but I could and would not harm a flea. I have been denied Housing and employment just in the last 2 months......This is BS!!!!

Lori Stenson


Comments;
I appreciate what both of you are doing. I've had alot of heartaches since I recieved my deferred in 1991. I've lost many good paying job due to this. I will fight this just let me know what I need to do. Thank you.

Chad Jennings


Dear Sir,

I am a very enthusiatic and entergetic persons that wants to help deal with laws that are making americans with DA, who want a better life, have to lower their standards because of their past. I think that our whole american dream, as people may say, is a fraud because there are many people who do things in their life that they may regret, and when they are tricked to believe that they will be removed from the criminal system is ridiculous. Lawyers are suppose to be for the people as well as the law and by law you need a lawyer unless you want to represent yourself. The whole system needs to be look at again. I am very ready to step forward and help. I am one of the people who recieved DA and never been arrested before in my life. My situation is very complicated. I feel that I am not a criminal and that is how the system is making me feel.

Thank You,

Tonia Tipton


Dear Mr. Sandifer

I followed these bills last time around when they were squashed; with only a vague interest. At the time I thought DA was a good thing, a way for people to get a second chance, bad things happen to good people all the time, people make mistakes and bad choices, they shouldnt be punished their entire lives for something they have made restitution for in good faith. The courts may not see DA as a conviction but everyone outside the court does and anyone can pick up your DPS records for 4 bucks over the internet. Now I have a DA on my record, and as far as I am concerned if a court of law declares that I have not been convicted then that should be the end of it. We have judges and
courtrooms for judgements if they decide your not guilty it should stand as the final word and no one outside a court of law should be able to see that or say otherwise. I was misled, as was my lawyer and it's doubtful the judge knew the full extent of what would become of her judgement since she saw fit to tell me that if I had been convicted it would affect my ability to get a job and housing, and that she was being very gracious in granting me the chance to keep those things from happening by giving me DA. I would be interested in knowing how this option came to be in the first place, and whose idea it was to throw in the little stinger about it not really being a conviction on your record even though in all practicality it is and anyone who excepts DA takes the bigger risk of possibly receiving the maximum penalty for the same crime if they show up in court again for anything else, usually including traffic tickets gone warrant. I never really thought about how ridiculous this option was until after I figured out that anyone with my name and four bucks could see what I was told would not be seen. I hope Perry has changed his tune from last time this went through. It's killing people who are honestly trying to change their lives for the better.

Sincerely,

Brandi Cox


Comments:

I wish to do whatever is necessary to help myself and others like myself who suffer from the nightmare that follows the disposition of being placed on DA. I live in San Antonio, TX

Cesar Denzil


I know someone who received deferred adjudication in 1982, followed by five years of supervised probation. This person later received a notice of satified completion of probation. The official records in Harris County states "charges set aside - case dismissed". Now when he is required to
serve as a potential jurior, per the Judge, there is "no conviction". However, when he tries to buy a firearm, the records indicate "conviction". At the time he received deferred adjudication, he was told that once the probation was completed, everything would be as it had been with ALL rights
restored.


He has spent the past 18 months dealing with the ATF attempting to be able to legally buy a firearm, only to be told that the ATF has no problem instating this privilege once the State of Texas grants permission. What can be done?

Thanks,

RK


Comments:
I am planning on applying to law school for the 2004 school year. I have a deferred adjudication on my record that happened 10 years ago. Do you think I stand a chance getting into law school?

Kristy


Hi Rob,

Thanks for emailing me. I was wanting to get on with USAA, but they denied me due to the DA. I work for ____________ now and I'm doing alright, except the contract is up in December and I will be having to find a job and that pesky DA is killing me! I can't get a clearance because of it and that hurts because my most recent experience is with the government. I appreciate you emailing. If things get too tough when my contract is up maybe you could give me some contacts?

Dana


Name: Mike Watson

Comments
Mr. Gonzalez: While my son was in college he was convicted on a charge and was told
briefly about the D.A. and is now paying the price for youth and misjudgement. I'm sure
you have heard this a thousand times but now there is a problem that we never knew
would happen .What we need at this point is a little guidence as to the correct way to
proceed.My son was told about a Governors pardon ( which is probably slim to zero)
and I don't understand the expunction process well enough to make the right decision
about how to proceed. Can you give any direction to our fight to clear his name or is it
possible to correct this situation??

Mike Watson




Received deferred adjudication back in January 1991 for a $30.00 theft charge. I was going to plead not guilty because it was a mistake, but my attorney persuaded me to go with DA because he said my record would be wiped clean and it would be the easiest way to go. I had never been accused of anything before so I went along because I didn't know any better and figured the lawyer knew what he was talking about. It was a misdemeanor charge. I have been laid off from my job and want to change careers and go into teaching. Should this prevent me from going into this profession or is it just for felony DA? Mine was misdemeanor DA. Thank you.

Steve Woods


Name: Ruben D

Comments:

My name is Ruben Daron I am writing because I  am so upset I was at a temporary assignment and I was doing so well at the job and they decied to hire me on.  When it came time to the application I advised them that I had a misdemeanor on my record and they said no problem.  Well just this week I was released due to that misdemeanor!  I just dont know what to do anymore I paid the price for what I did and I am still being punished.  I have two kids and I cant keep going on like this.  What can I do or can anything be done?


Back in October2001 I was at the wrong place at the wrong time, and of course got put into the Deffered  Adjudication program (2yrs). I signed up with a staffing agency named Allegiance (CK) Staffing during November2002 and got put on a six month assignment at Thomason Hospital as a Lab Clerk on February2003.  Thomason then wanted to hire me for the position and wanted me to apply at their (HR) Human Resources  Department to be under them in April 2003. I filled out all papers that needed to be signed and all of a sudden  when  "Veronica" from HR checked my background, she saw that I was under the Deffered Adjudication  program. She declined the job offer to me at the time and said that I could reapply for it when I got off AD, but  for the meantime I was going to stay there as a Temp. She then called "Toni" from CK Staffing and asked her

why she didn't do her job as to checking my background. Toni told me that she ran my background in  November2002 and everthing was clear, then when Veronica told her to re-run it again in April2003 it came out  that I was on Deffered Adjudication. Toni then relooked at my application and saw that for the question "Have you ever been CONVICTED of a felony"? I answered "NO". "She" said that I lied on my application because I  was convicted and decided to end my assignment with Thomason and with the agency on May2003. I was trying to explain to her that I was never CONVICTED on any crime, and is why I got put on Deffered Adjudication since it was going to come off my record. I asked my probation officer if I answered wrong in that question and he said "No" because I never did get CONVICTED. Now if the application would have asked "Have you ever been arrested"? then I know I would have had to answer yes because I had. I think that if any person or employer says that you did get convicted just because you're on the program defeats the whole purpose of being on Deffered Adjudication. It's supposed to mean that you wern't convicted of anything and is why it's going to come off your record and given a second chance into society. I honestly think that I am being discriminated against my legally protected status just for being at the wrong place at the wrong time, and don't think that it was right for them to have dropped me from my assignment and the whole agency just like that for something that I never got convicted of. I trully do intend to take this matter further/ possibly to the media including to political leaders.

Regards,

Tammi


Name: TERRY  RAMIREZ

Comments:

I WAS PLACED ON DEFERRED ADJUDICATION WHEN I WAS BARELY 17 YEARS OLD FOR A  MISDEMEANOR OFFENSE.  I AM NOW 24 YEARS OF AGE, AND ALTHOUGH EMPLOYED,   THE ONLY JOBS I HAVE HAD SINCE THEN ARE TEMPORARY JOBS; THE ONLY REASON I  HAVE HELD MY PRESENT JOB FOR 2 YEARS NOW, IS DUE TO MY DAD---WE WORK IN  SAME COMPANY, DIFFERENT DEPARTMENTS.  (STILL, I WORK FOR TEMPORARY AGENCY).  I DO NOT HAVE BENEFITS OF ANY KIND, NO MEDICAL, NO LIFE, NO VACATIONS, NOTHING!!!!!! IF IT WEREN'T FOR MY PARENTS HELPING ME OUT NOW AND THEN ( I ONLY MAKE $6.50 AN HOUR) I WOULD BE HOMELESS!! IT TERRIFIES ME TO THINK WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF, GOD FORBID, I GOT SICK AND WOULD WIND UP IN A HOSPITAL AND ME WITH NO INSURANCE!!! I HAVE LIVED A CLEAN LIFE SINCE THEN;  WOULD ONE DAY LIKE TO GET MARRIED AND HAVE A FAMILY---BUT WITH MY  RECORD--- HOW IN THE WORLD COULD I TAKE CARE OF A WIFE AND KID? I WANT MY  LIFE BACK!!!!!!!!!! THANK YOU FOR LISTENING. MY ADDRESS IS 4006 DALLAS ST.  HOUSTON, TEXAS, 77023 AND PHONE NUMBER IS 713-222-1999. I WILL HELP YOU IN ANY WAY I CAN. JUST LET ME KNOW HOW OR WHAT ELSE I CAN DO TO HELP MYSELF AND OTHER PEOPLE THAT ARE BEING HELD BACK BY THIS TRAVESTY AND INJUSTICE.


I too was misled as to what DA was. I was told that if I follwed the 6 months of probation, the DA would be wiped from my record and would not reflect a conviction. Otherwise I would have requested a trial by jury  and there's no doubt in my mind I'd have won the case. Only until recently did I find out the truth about DA.  My case was a class B misdemeanor. If I can be of any further help, please let me know.

 Mark E. T, Jr.


Name: A Parodes

In 1995 I was arrested for shoplifting.  I pleaded deferred adjucation and received 90 days probation, 24  hours community service plus court cost.  I thought that once I fulfilled the probation, community service and  paid the court cost it would all go away.  WRONG!  I never imagained it would affect my life as much as it  has.  I tried to put it past me, but it keeps hunting me. I went on to college then applied to nursing school.  This  will be my second career.  I am 52 years old and have finally become a regestered nurse through hard work,  dedication and determination.  It's not an easy career, but I did it.  Now, I am finding that I am stuck in a dead

end.  The lawyer I hired to get my record cleared tells my DPS will not drop my case.  They refuse.  I have  letters from my probation officer and psychologist who back me up 100%.  They feel after evaluating me that it was a ONE time occurance.  One wrong decision has cancelled my entire life of giving and helping others.  I am being penalized twice for a past crime that has nothing to do with who I am or what I can do to help people in need.  Why is that a "nolo contendere" automatically equals guilty? I passed my boards in October 2003, but can't get a job because they do background checks on all nurses.  All the applications I am qualified to do ask if I have ever pleaded deferred adjucation for a misdemeanor other than a traffic violation.  I can't get past the front door.  I despretaly want to practice nursing but it's becoming hard & harder to do.

  I support HB 181.


Name: Donna Stamm

Comments:

I am so glad to see someone is finally fighting for those of us who received deferred adjudication, but didn't   know that the consequences would follow us forever. I was granted deferred adjudication 10 1/2 years ago and it is still haunting me.  I recently become unemployed due to downsizing in the company I worked for. It  has been 2 months, and I've not been able to get a job due to my criminal record. I would also like to move,  but cannot get anyone to rent to me for the same reason. I don't think we should have to pay for one mistake  for the rest of our lives.  God bless you for taking the initiative to fight this battle. I have signed the petition and  am mailing tomorrow.

  Sincerely,
Donna S
San Antonio, TX 78232


Dear Ms. Reyna,

I am writing this e-mail to follow-up on a communication you received from Mr. Rob Sandifer asking for your support of House Bill 181.   I live in Mesquite, Texas and I am one of your constiuents.  This problem has directly affected a member of my family. 

My nephew was charged with marijuana possession - less than half an ounce.  His attorney actively

encouraged him to accept Deferred Adjudication.  I heard this conversation first hand where my nephew was advised to take the plea, pay the fine and complete the probation period to make the problem go away.

The advice received by my nephew in no way prepared him for the lingering effects of accepting this plea.  At the time he accepted the plea, my nephew was enrolled in a private school pursuing a technology degree.  He completed the program and received his degree.  This degree is useless to him because employers immediately disqualify him.   He has a $23,000 student loan he has no hope of every repaying due to the job discrimination practiced against him.

I would like to share with you the history of discrimination against my nephew:

1) He has submitted multiple applications to companies where he was automatically eliminated from consideration.  These include SBC, Texas Instruments, AT&T, GE/Zurich, Wal-Mart, O'Reilly Auto Parts.  These are just a few of the high profile companies who have declined his application.

2) He was working for Sears and had fully disclosed his charge as part of the application process.  Sears terminated his employment without cause after they decided to run background checks on all employees.  Even though my nephew advised Sears of the charge, made full disclosure to his management and provided proof he had successfully completed his probation period, he was terminated.

3) He received a job offer from a technology company.  The employment application asked if he was ever incarcerated for a felony.  He answered no and that was the truth - he was not sentenced to jail time.  The company ran a routine background check and withdrew the job offer.  Why?  They considered that my nephew falsified his application.

4) He attempted to lease an apartment with a friend.  His application was denied.  Why?  The

background check executed by the Leasing company reported a felony conviction even though my

nephew has not been convicted of  a felony.

So, at this time my nephew has a family to support with no possibility of finding full time employment.  He is automatically blocked from consideration by any future employers because of the way his Deferred Adjudication plea is reported as part of a background check.  He cannot earn an income, cannot adequately support his family, cannot provide insurance coverage for his family, cannot repay the student loan, and cannot benefit from the education he completed. 

I hope you can sympathize with his frustration and the frustration of the many other Texans affected by this problem.

I am a constituent in your district, and I am writing this e-mail to ask your support for HB 181.  Candidly, I don't think this bill does enough to protect the rights of people affected by this problem.  It only represents a single step forward in trying to make a change on their behalf.  This problem will only be corrected when businesses and government agencies are prevented from practicing open discrimination.  Their civil rights are being violated and we need to make changes in our laws.

I would welcome the opportunity to talk with you in person about this problem.  You may contact me via this e-mail address. 

I look forward to your response and support.  I would also welcome your recommendations about how to carry this message to other members of the Texas legislature.

Regards,

Debra M

Registered Voter

Mesquite, Texas


 

Dear Mr. Sandifer,

    I am writing in support of passing the bill regarding DA expunction. I am so relieved to have finally find the beginning process to take steps and have my voice heard. As many people I was a teenager and first time offender when I committed a felony of forgery of a financial instrument. I was advised to take DA and told by my lawyer and my probation officer that it did not mean a conviction and as long as I served my 3 years of probation without incident I would have this gone

off my records. As like many others I found out after I served my probation that it stays. I am now 27 that lives with a branded mark of a criminal. I have stayed a law abiding citizen and learned my lesson. I have always had a passion for working in the medical field.Even before I made a horrible mistake of forgery. I have been  at a dead end road to continue my education and graduate with a degree due to this conviction. I can not geti nto any programs at the college to receive my degree since they are strict on no felonies. I have been denied employment for qualified jobs. I still live at home due to the fact no one will rent me an apartment. I have been denied credit cards and bank accounts due to my conviction. I have had to take jobs that I know wont do background checks and they are jobs that pay low and I'm overqualified for. My dreams of becoming a employee in the medical field have been stopped due to this conflicting law. I should have a masters degree by now  or be years invested into a company. Its embarrassing and painful to have your rights, dignity, and dreams stripped away for a mistake . I have paid my time to the system and I did everything I was told. So why do I have to continue paying a price? I have had years of let downs because of this and that just makes my voice want to be heard more to express the horrible drawbacks DA had. If its going to stay with you for the rest of your life, then it shouldn't even be an option in the courts. Its obvious that When anyone was offered DA we were falsely told the backlash it would have. I feel not only should this bill pass, but some responsibility from the courts,lawyers and judges should be held somewhat responsible for the lies and damaged it has caused us who have worked with the system. Please let me know if there is anything else I can do and I would also like to know if you have dates as to when they will meet for this bill. Thanks again and I hope everyone hangs in there because one day...we will have our freedom back.

Yours truly,

Danielle W

Humble, Texas


Good morning Mr. Sandifer,

 My name is Omar and I am in the process of getting terminated by HISD because of my DA. I was charged with possession of marijuana; 5yrs probation with 5 thousand dollar fine. My lawyer told me it will never show up on my record but it did and now HISD wants to terminate me because I did not put it on my application when I applied.  Would it be possible to get another teaching job at another district if I resign with HISD. Please I need your help.

Thank You,

 Omar L


Mr. Sandifer,

I am contacting you to see what I can do to help get the bill passed to clear a persons record, so they can have the dignity to work and make a living. I am signing the petition and sending it to the governor's office. My grandson has this on his record. I was wondering if there was any way that we might get media coverage on this problem. Most people don't know how hard it is on people with this on their record. They don't know how bad the discrimination is in the state of Texas. I feel like if they knew, they would help to get this bill passed. My daughter e-mailed you a little while ago and she said that there was something on the site about the third of March. Is there a meeting? Please let us know.

Thank you,

Sincerely Gloria J


Dear Rob

Thanks for the explanation, I received DA and completed it successfully.  It was for a 3rd degree felony.(possession of steroids) for personal use;  bodybuilding.  If this law passes I still have to wait 10 years before I see a difference.  I need the change now while I'm still young and be able to

find a good job.  Right now I can't find anything worth bragging about  because every employer I have come across looks at DA as  the same as a conviction.

Stressed out!!!!!

Eddie H


Hi Rob,

I just want to say thanks because 8 years now I have been living without hope ever clearing my record of this felony deferred adjudication. I can't get a good paying job because of DA. I want to be an attorney so that can protect the right. I was lie to by the District Attorney and my probation officer that this can be cleared from my record. Well, I'm not an repeat criminal and I think I should get another chance. So thank you for starting this because now I have so hope. Please if  I can help with anything please feel free to contact me.

Scott W


Rob,

Hello.  I found your name on the Deferred Adjudication website.  I am interested in learning how I can help support this effort.  My nephew was charged with felony posession for a small amount of marijuana.  He received a probation with deferred adjudication but still has difficulty obtaining employment.

I would like to help support this effort.  I would also like to know if anyone has contacts for any resources or companies who can aid in his job search.

Thank you,

Debra V


Mr. Sandifer,

I have children that deferred adjudication has and will affect the way the law is set up now.  My son is 21, my daughter 23. Both are trying to get their lives on track. 

My daughter is a single mother working on her nursing certification.  She was advised by a lawyer in Abilene to plead "no contest" to a charge of possession of marjuana.  She was living with someone who had a plant in a garden area outside their apartment. She told the lawyer she didn't know it was there.  He advised her that a jury would find her guilty because of association. While she didn't want to plead guilty to the charge, she went ahead because she didn't have money to fight the charge.  Now it appears that this may prevent her from fulfilling her desire to become a nurse.  She doesn't want to be on the welfare rolls and is working very hard not to be.  She is working at a day care and attending college.

My son's case is slightly different. Although he had a different lawyer, his advise was the same.  He led us to believe the charges would be wiped from his record after fines were paid and probation served.   His fines will soon be paid, then what?  Will these charges always haunt him?  I will do what I can to assist in any efforts to get this law changed in Texas.  Many young people make stupid mistakes which they live to regret. But, must their bad choices affect them the rest of their lives. 

As parents, my husband and I tried to instill in our children virtues that would make them productive citizens.  Unfortunately, when my husband's mental illness progressed he was nolonger a positive influence on them.  Their father's illness in their early teens and his subsequent suicide have affected them adversely. 

I have sent a petition letter to Governor Perry. Is there anything else I can do other than contacting our representative?  I sincerely pray that our governor will have compassion on those who have been affected by this law and will not veto HB 181.

I appreciate the interest you have shown to make changes regarding deferred adjudication.

Sincerely,

Joy M


Hi Rob,

Yes, I am still interested in helping and I read every e-mail.  I am in school for Respiratory Therapy and have been very depressed as of late because of one thing.  Yep, you guessed it.  My Deferred adjudication could keep me from being licensed by the Board.  I spoke with Ms. Dyer at the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners and she said that it would definitely be looked at but probably would not count against me.  She then went on to give conflicting statements as to whether it would be considered a conviction and could be grounds for denial.  If it is then I probably would be denied and 4 years of school and tuition would be wasted.  I did a background check at the Texas DPS website on me and it came back with no results for convictions or DA.  I would leave it off my application but I don't want to lie to the Board as I would be in big trouble if they found out.  Anyways, I have a couple of questions for you, if you don't mind.  Is DA in Texas an admission of guilt?  Is it considered Nolo Contendere?  Is it a technical "conviction"?  Tell me what I can do since I do not live in Texas. 

Thanks

Steve


Rob:

I was put on DA, and of course LIED TO, about the ramifications of that back in 1986 in Houston. I was 23 years old. I forged a name on a check. It was a crime of desperation, but thats neither here nor there. I am a former US MArine. I had never been in trouble before that, and have never committed a crime since then. I was truly a "one-time criminal!" I own a small film production company in Houston, and have recently found out that i could not get production insurance....could not get "bonded"....and also could not get a concealed weapons permit, even though I can "buy" guns! Now, I know that most people are lazy, so if something doesnt "match up" quickly, they stop searching records. I have used my middle name (what I go by) in the past, like when i bought my home...maybe thats why the mortgage company never questioned my DA???? It would be nice if the law at least allowed the rec ords to be sealed...but that might even draw MORE SUSPICION to our predicament. I feel that expunging the DA is the only way. I mean, its been 16 years....its as if I'm still on probation and being convicted on a daily basis. You have permission to use my name and anything else you need. I will even appear and speak on the subject...i am a writer/director! I

know many others are just like me...they screwed up ONE TIME...and the fact is, people who have actually served time are probably better off than the DA's!

Thank you,

C M. A


Hello,

I was reading an article on deferred adjudication probation and your e-mail address came up-stating that you are trying to help with the Texas law. That would be great. I was 18 years old- and forged 2 checks in the amount of $50.00 each. I ended up in jail, a scared, young girl- the court appointed attorney offered me 6 years of deferred adjudication probation I accepted it  - she said it would not be on my record. Well, it has been 11 years and it is still there- I have a hard time finding a job because of it. I learned my lesson and would never do that again!!! Many companies say that they go back 7 or 10 years on a background check- but that is false- they will go back as far as they can and they do see deferred adjudication probation as a conviction. The Texas legislature should be changed for people on deferred adjudication probation- for the record to be clean after 7 or 10 ye ars. Doesn't everyone deserve a second chance???!!!!! I sure hope something can be done about this- people make stupid decisions and learn from the mistakes-in their own mind- they are always

suffering from the mistake- it should not stay on the record so that they can't get a job or an apartment!!! Please help!!!!


Mr. Sandifer,

I am newly discovering that what I was led to believe 13 years ago about DA is not true.  I have been trying to apply to become a substitute  teacher in Maryland and am ineligible because of my DA probation that I  served from Nov. 1989 to Nov.1995.  I discovered all this in the spring

of 2002 when I was informed by Anne Arundel school district that I could  not be a  substitute for 15 years after my violation.  I have been an upstanding citizen for 13 years.  I received a BA Psychology (Cum Laude)  from University of  Maryland Baltimore County in 1998.  I am currently

attempting to return to school to earn a Masters of Arts in Teaching and  have discovered that because of DA I am ineligible for several programs  and possibly any teaching positions.

My attorney in the matter led me to believe that if I took DA I would have no criminal record upon

completion. According to him, the only record would be that I was arrested but not what I was arrested for.  I discovered today from the Texas State Bar web page that he "resigned in lieu of  disciplinary action."  I cannot contact him to inquire why he told me what he did 13 years ago. 

I am not sure where to go from here.   My husband found you on the internet.  Your posting asks that I contact you.  If sending my story to some one along with my transcripts and life history could in any way be helpful, I will do it.  If you have any advice for me please give it.

Thank You,

Julia L

Baltimore, MD


Hello Rob,

I'm sure you've heard of my situation through Debbie Edwards. I was recently laid off and been having a very difficult time seeking employment. I was charge with assault March of 00. I went with deferred adjudification and the rest has been a nightmare. I successfully completed my probation requirements, and it's still on my record. I'm sure you've heard the whole story, but it's time for me to do something as well. I've made an apointment with my local state rep. to discuss my issues and to also inform him to support your bill.

I also want to know if you have any other suggestions as well. Can an effective lawyer expunshed my misdeameaner? Is there a list of potiental employers that do not perform background checks.

Please respond,

Timothy

Dallas, TX


WANT TO DO WHATEVER I CAN TO HELP CHANGE THIS LAW .I HAVE 4 CHILDREN I HAVE ALWAYS WORKED AND TRIED MY BEST TO TAKE CARE OF THEM I WAS SO

GLAD THE DAY I WORKED MYSELF COMPLETELY OFF WELFARE NOW BECAUSE OF THE NEW LAW I HAVE NO JOB AND I'M RECIEVING FOODSTAMPS IT WAS A STEP

BACK THAT HAS NEARLY TAKEN AWAY ALL MY ABILITY TO TAKE CARE OF MY CHILDREN I 'M A CNA  THAT CAN'NT GET A JOB AND I LIVE IN BEDFORD AND THEY ARE SO CRITICAL I BARELY HAVE A PLACE TO STAY CAUSE OF THE LAW .I REALIZE HOUSE BILL 1415 WILL BE BACK FOR VOTE IN JANUARY OF 2003 I WILL MAKEPOSTERS AND IF I HAD BUMPER STICKERS I WOULD PUT THOSE ON CARS .


Mr. Sandifer,

Thank you so much for answering so quickly.  Yes, I do know someone that was affected by deferred adjudication, my son Joshua 

Real quick let me tell you his story.  When he was 18 years of age he was arrested for burglary.  He was out with a couple of friends and they went to local bar obviously with a fake ID.  When the bar closed they started to leave and they noticed that, the back door to the bar was opened.

One of the friends decided to go into the bar and takes three bottles of liquor.  He puts them in the car and thinking that no one had seen they remained in the parking lot talking.  The bar owner did see and he calls the police and when they arrive everyone ran expect Oscar for the was the owner of the vehicle.  He was arrested and charged with a felony, burglary to a business for $68.00.

Knowing how furious I would with him he took it upon himself to go to an attorney and the attorney advises him to accept DA.  He did everything that the court asked of him.  He even joined the US Navy and went into the nuclear program.  After four years in the Navy he returned home and attained a degree in business administration. 

He has excellent credential but you guessed it, every time he applies for a decent job you know what happens. 

Thank you for the response.

Thomas


This email is still good, but not for long because my contract employment

has ended here. My Deferred Adjudication has caused my unemployment. Please

help me and make note of my new email address:

Have a Blessed Day!

Timoth V


l'am going tell you what happend. When I was eighteen I was arrested for possi. of mariuaj. After 6 months of talking to a lawyer he told me to take the da offer sayin the same thing I have read on your boards it wont affect you later. I finished high school and then worked for a company building bank tellers safes etc. for several years but was not making enough income. I decided to go back to school and study nursing something i always liked (medical field).  During my second semester in clinicals i was informed that i could not take the Nclex or move on to the third semester. I never  had been in trouble before or after the arrest its been more than eight years. Every one needs a second chance. I like your da site and the bill you are pushing.  Please send me any info on similar cases you have heard about or anything that can help me.

thank you so much rob for your efforts


Hello Rob:

I would like for the law to be changed.  Some of us were young and dumb and learned our lessons.  If we took deferred adjudication, I think it is only fair if we went by the conditions in our probation, it should be expunged.

Sincerely,

Tara L


Rob,

Please help us out to solve this issue.  I accepted deferred adjudication by an advice from the prosecutor.  Now I am stuck with this for life.  I was not even guilty, wanted to fight the

case but insufficient funds held my way.  I would hope state of Texas can change this.


Hi Rob,

I am also one of those unfortunate one who was fallen in trap of accepting DA thinking it will be cleared once the probation is over.  You are right that we must unite and send our coherent voice to the senator, governor or whoever so our voice is heard.  How about a sample draft of letter so everyone can act promptly on it.

Please note my email and phone#.  God bless you for all your efforts for millions of people in the state of Texas.

Regards,

Sheri


Good Morning Rob,

I ran across your name on the website of Bennett & Bennett. I was wondering if you had been successful in changing the Deferred Adjudication Law. I took Deferred Adjudication in a case that was against me 3 years ago due to lack of funds for a "Good" Attorney. Needless to say, I was told I would never have a record. Well, here I am trying to get my nursing license reinstated.  I am afraid they will hit me with this during the board hearing that will be held at the end of the year or the first of 2003. It looks like this may keep me from going on in my career. This is not right! If there is anything I can do to help, let me know. This law needs to be changed!

Thanks,

Veronica


Hello Rob,

I am interested in helping in any way that I can.  I myself am one of these people who has been trying to deal with this bad law.  I have been turned  down for a couple of jobs and I don't think that I am eligible to take the  CPA exam.  It just doesn't seem right to me considering that this incident  happened over ten years ago and it was nothing more than a teenage prank  that went bad.  After this happened I was allowed to join the Navy so I was

under the impression that everything was fine.  After I was honorably  discharged I attended school and finished my accounting degree.  It was not until I was looking for jobs in accounting that I first encountered this problem.  I feel like this is extremely unfair.  Please let me know if there is anything I can do.  Thank You.

Oscar J

Staff Accountant


Dear Rob:

My son took a deferred adjudication on a burglary of a habitat.  He took a tv from a girlfriend, later took it back but to teach him a lesson, the girls mother filed charges on him.  He was 19 at the time.  He is living in Houston and having a really hard time, he cannot rent an apartment.  He has to get other people to do it for him.  He cannot get a decent job.  He was recently hired for a 52,000 year job but when they did the background check he was turned out.  This deferred adjudication, he was told, would not be on his record.  As you can see, it is.  What can we do to help these kids?  I would be willing to help out in any way I can.  My name is:  Doria Johnson Thanks for any info you can give me to help him.


Thanks for the reply Rob.

In 1990 I wrote a check to Pizza Hut for around $20. The check bounced and went to a collection agency. The collection agency sent it to the DA's Office. I paid the collection agency

and they notified the DA's Office that it was paid.

I was not required to pay any restitution or anything because I had settled my debt with the collection agency. The DA stated that it would be easiest way to get this resolved.

I went to court on three occassions and each time I was rescheduled because the DA couldn't find an amount owing. On the 4th trial date, I was informed by the DA that I could plead no contest, get deferred adjudication and this matter would be erased from my record.

All was good until last month. I worked for a few banks in Texas since then and this never was a problem. I applied for a job at Wells Fargo Bank in Oregon, and got the job. A week later I was fired because of the Deferred Adjudication was on my record.

I've been informed by attorneys up here that I will not be able to work for any bank in oregon because of that on my record.


Hello,

My name is Paul and I' ve have a deferred adjudication on my record.  I took a plea agreement when I was 17 yrs of age and received 3yrs deferred adjud.   Probation.  I finished my probation with no problems and have really done good with myself since then.  I'm 25 now, and in the past I tried to get a  job with T.Y.C, wanting to go into the criminal justice field.  But I could not get hired because of the deferred adjud.

 I ran into the same problem with getting my record expunged.  So I thought,  I could get a pardon, according to the code of criminal procedure, but was  denied by the board of pardons and parole.  They gave me a copy of Attorney  General "s ruling on the subject [Dan Morales opinion -349} saying that a deferred adjudication person has no legal disabilities or disqualification's resulting from the deferred Adjudication.

They are wrong, so far I can't buy a gun and had trouble with getting certain types of jobs.  It has also prevented me from going into the military, with certain clearances.  I've kinda gave up for, but I would like to get this off my record.  If you have any advice let me know.


Samantha G wrote:

Mr. Sandifer,
I am a licensed social worker, who was arrested almost two years ago and may case is still pending. I thought that deferred adjudication was not a conviction, but by what I have read, it is the same thing only your rights are taken away if you accept this options.

I have been charged with felony theft(F4) and barely have been able to scratch together money for restitution and an attorney to just plea bargain my case, the only reason I am not taking this to trial is my family doesn't have the money, and I do not want to put my family through any more stress, however I am concerned about my state license to practice social work. While I have been dragging through the court system I have returned to college to get my Master's degree in Social Work and will graduate in May 2003, I am a member of Phi Alpha Honor Society and was secretary of the Graduate Student Association of Social Workers. I will be interning 500 hrs. (free labor) for a hospital. i had hoped deferred adj. was the answer because I am tired of this whole battle. I certainly hope that this HB 181 passes.

I do not know how much time I can give this effort, but please if I can be of some help let me know.

Sam G

By the way I live in a small town in East Texas.


Rob. I wanted to contact to regarding your website. I am probably the classic case of how deferred adjudication has ruined my professional life.  I would like to be involved in anyway I can.  I have been trying to find a job now for almost a year to no avail.  I have a record for a class b misd

in harriscounty that was deferred about two years ago.  the fact is, this is a conviction.  even the department of public safety website classifies it as such in their "convictions database".  Nevertheless,  I am drawing new hope and enthusiasm from the HB1415 which I recently became aware of via Val on the uslawbooks forum.  would enjoy hearing from you about how to live with

DA and what I can do to advance hb1415. 

John

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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