“Will this be on my record?” is a common client concern. After all, in the information age employers, friends, enemies et al, all have access to your complete criminal history with only a few clicks of the mouse. Criminal cases can leave a permanent scar. You can spend a lifetime explaining that misdemeanor pot charge you got in your 20’s. Ergo, it’s important the before you plead guilty and accept that “great” plea offer, you understand the long term effects on your criminal history.
Unfortunately, the idea that a deferred case can be expunged is probably the most common erroneous legal advice given. (Disclaimer- class c/traffic tickets can be expunged after deferred). Many defendants plead guilty thinking, again erroneously, that since a deferred case is dismissed upon a succsefful completion of probation, and leaves no conviction, they should be entitled to an expunction.
Dallas County is seeking to end the confusion with a new written admonishment, which lays out the expunction/non disclsoure ramifications of a deferred plea. I OCR’ed the text so you don’t to read the PDF.
It reads as follows-
COURT’S ADMONISHMENT ON RIGHT TO ORDER OF NONDISCLOSURE
lf you have been placed on deferred adjudication community supervision and subsequently receive a discharge and dismissal, and you satisfy the requirements set forth below, you may petition the court for an order ofnondisclosure pursuant to Section 411.08I of the Texas Govemment Code, Except as provided below, you may petition the court regardless of whether you have been previously placed on deferred adjudication community supervision for another offense. After notice to the State and a hearing on whether you are entitled to file the petition and whether issuance ofthe order is in the best interest ofjustice, the court shall issue an order prohibiting criminal justice agencies from disclosing to the public criminal history record information related to the offense for which you were placed on deferred adjudication, A criminal justice agency may disclose
criminal history record information that is the subject ofthe order only to other criminal justice agencies, for criminal justice or regulatory licensing purposes, an agency or entity specifically listed in Section 41 1.081, or the person who is the subject ofthe
You may petition this court for an order ofnondisclosure on payment ofa $28 fee to the clerk ofthe court in addition to any other fees that generally apply to the filing ofa civil petition. The petition may be made only on or after: (I) the discharge and dismissal, ifthe offense for which you were placed on deferred adjudication was a misdemeanor other
than a misdemeanor described by number (2) below; _t (2) the second anniversary ofthe discharge and dismissal, if the offense for which you were placed on deferred adjudication was a misdemeanor under Chapter 20, 21, 22, 25, 42, or 46, Penal Code; or
(3) the fifth anniversary of the discharge and dismissal, if the offense for which you were placed on deferred adjudication was a felony.
You are entitled to petition the court for nondisclosure only if during the period of the deferred adjudication community supervision for which the order ofnondisclosure is requested and during the applicable period described by number (I). (2), or (3) above, as appropriate, you were not convicted of or placed on deferred adjudication community supervision for, any offense other than an offense under the Transportation Code punishable by fine only. You arc not entitled to petition the court if you were placed on deferred adjudication community supervision for or have been previously convicted or placed on any other deferred adjudication for:
(1) an offense requiring registration as a sex offender under Chapter 62, Code of Criminal Procedure;
(2) an offense under Penal Code Section 20.04 (Aggravated Kidnapping), regardless of whether the offense is a reportable conviction or adjudication for purposes of Chapter 62, Code of Criminal Procedure;
(3) an offense under Penal Code Sections 19.02 (Murder), 19.03 (Capital Murder), 22.04 (Injury to a Child, Elderly Individual, or Disabled Individual), 22,041 (Abandoning or Endangering a Child), or 25.07 (Violation of Court Order or Conditions ofBond in a Family Violence Case); or
(4) any other offense involving family violence, as defined by Family Code Section 71.004.
You are considered to have been placed on deferred adjudication community supervision if, regardless of the statutory authorization:
(1) you entered a plea ofguilty or nolo contendere;
(2) the judge deferred liirther proceedings witltout entering an adjudication of guilt and placed you under the supervision of the court or an officer under the supervision ofthe court; and
(3) at the end ofthe period of supervision thejudge dismissed the proceedings and discharged you.
Got that? If you want to plead guilty, and take deferred in Dallas you have to sign off that you understand exactly what you can, and can’t do to keep this event from public view. While we are on the topic, deferred reform is an area that needs more attention. Too many Texans are held back by penny ante bullshit criminal cases. That pot case in your twenties shouldn’t last a lifetime. I get a lot of inquiries for expunctions/non disclosures, and after I tell them they don’t qualify I encourage them to contact their representative, and let them know how they feel about our state’s inane expunction laws. To that end the Texans for Justice and Legal Reform are one organization working to fix the problem. Their website sucks, but it’s a good place to start.