Definition - What does deferred adjudication mean?
Deferred adjudication is a legal statute that involves a defendant entering a guilty or no contest plea to fulfill stipulations mandated by the court for a case dismissal, bypassing an official conviction. The underlying premise for a deferred adjudication process is to confer latitude to the defendant in the expectation that they will demonstrate lawful behavior to satisfy their probationary period.
SureHire explains deferred adjudication
After entering a plea of guilty/no contest, the defendant is obligated to adhere by judicial requirements that can include counselling, community service, and rehabilitation. In the event a defendant commits a breach of the terms outlined, deferred adjudication allows the judge to deliver an immediate sentence and conviction reflecting the nature of the offense. In the workplace, applicants can experience potential setbacks in career opportunities since deferred adjudication carries the stigma of having committed a crime against the weight of an actual judgment dispensed in the form of a conviction.
Depending on federal and state laws, employers can conduct thorough background screening examinations where details surrounding a deferred adjudication case are a mainstay in determining whether a potential candidate is above suspicion. However, different jurisdictions administer their own rules in accepting or rejecting the deferred adjudication measure since it presumes guilt, reflecting the character of the defendant in question even if a non-conviction follows. For background screening companies, legal enactments including the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) combined with local and state law amendments dictate the legitimacy of non-convictions during the hiring process.
In some cases, defense attorneys can motion for an expungement of their defendant’s case once the deferred adjudication arrangement is complete. Consequently, this legal clause provides defendants better prospects in landing jobs absent of a deferred adjudication record appearing on background checks unless it revolves around certain safety-sensitive positions. Since deferred adjudication imparts guilt of the defendant, employers have a responsibility of using discretion in the face of reasonable belief set by the court that the individual’s plea may serve as an example of past behavior.