Community Supervision

       Just because someone is found guilty of a crime does not necessarily mean that they are going to go to jail or prison.  An individual can be sentenced to either “Deferred Adjudication” or “Probation”.  These are both types of “Community Supervision”.  In both cases, the defendant has an opportunity to avoid incarceration by following the rules under which the court places them.

       There are two main differences between deferred adjudication and probation.  The first is that if someone successfully completes deferred adjudication then their case will be dismissed.  It isn’t necessary as good as an outright dismissal but it is better than a conviction.

       There are a number of instances where a dismissal as a result of deferred adjudication is considered the same as a conviction.  Two of the most dramatic are sex offender registration and federal immigration consequences.  A person needs to be familiar with the possible consequences of any pleas that they take, even if they are receiving deferred adjudication.

       If someone is on community supervision and there is an allegation that they have violated the terms of their community supervision there will likely be a hearing.  If they were on deferred adjudication it will be a “Motion to Adjudicate” and if they are on probation the hearing will be “Motion to Revoke” their probation.  Although there are differences between the two situations, the hearings are very similar.

         At the hearing, the first question will be whether or not the defendant violated any of the terms of the deferred adjudication or probation.  The defendant will not be entitled to a jury.  The judge will make the determination whether or not there was a violation.  One advantage that the defendant has is that the burden of proof is on the state.  However, the burden is not “Beyond a Reasonable Doubt” as it would be in a trial.  The burden is “Beyond a Preponderance of the Evidence” which means more likely than not.

         If it is determined that the terms of the deferred adjudication were violated then the next question that the judge will have to determine is what is the appropriate response.  The judge can do anything from issuing a warning to adjudicating him guilty and sending him to prison.  What the judge decides to do will depend upon the specific term(s) of community supervision that were violated as well as a number of different factors.

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