Deferred Adjudication

Definition - What does Deferred Adjudication mean?

Deferred adjudication is a form of a judicial sentencing arrangement wherein the case is criminal in nature and the judge agrees to allow the sentencing after a guilty plea to be postponed until after certain arrangements have been met.

Among these type of arrangements include the completion of certain crime-specific classes such as anger management or Alcoholics Anonymous. This could also include the completion of community service or another diversionary type of program that could have been a conditional sentence.

If at the end of the time frame the defendant has successfully completed the ordered classes or program, then the sentence is usually suspended.

Justipedia explains Deferred Adjudication

If a suspended sentence is ordered within the deferred adjudication terms, then the defendant is at risk of being forced to complete the sentence if they break the law again. This is meant to deter the defendant from breaching the peace or breaking any laws in the future.

There is also the possibility that the crime and sentence could be expunged from the defendant's record should they successfully complete the terms of the deferred adjudication. This offer is usually only made to first-time offenders or when the judicial and penitentiary system is severely overcrowded.

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