Deferred Disposition

Deferred Disposition is a way to resolve a Class C ticket in Texas that gets the ticket dismissed within 6 months. The 6 month probation may be longer if good cause is shown by the defendant to the judge that additional time should be granted.

Deferred Disposition vs Deferred Adjudication

Deferred Disposition is a method in Texas that is only used with Class C tickets. Deferred Adjudication is used in Class B and above charges as a probation that results in a dismissal if completed properly.

Both result in dismissals of the charges if completed properly. Deferred disposition is better in its own way though. Once attained in a Class C case a defendant can have the charge expunged permanently from their record.

A Deferred Adjudication in any Class B and above case will not be allowed to be expunged. The charge can be sealed by a Non-Disclosure once successfully completed and the probation dismissed. There is no expungement allowed in Deferred Adjudication probation cases.

What is Deferred Disposition for a Traffic Ticket?

The Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Art. 45.051 defines Deferred Disposition. It can be difficult to read the statute so hopefully this blog post helps the reader. It is important to distinguish that certain parts of the statute change as of January 1, 2020 for offenses committed on or after January 1, 2020.

The most inspiring result of a Deferred Disposition is that once satisfactorily complete the court SHALL note in the docket that there is NOT a final conviction. This is wonderful especially for someone who was arrested for a higher charge and then the case is reduced to a Class C Deferred Disposition probation. The higher charge arrest can now be expunged from their record. Expungement means GONE FOREVER.

What Happens if you Break Deferred Disposition?

Breaking Deferred Disposition can result in a conviction or getting another chance. Getting a new ticket or arrested and resolving the new case before a deferral period is up will be a problem. This would violate one of the deferral requirements that most have.

If you get a ticket and it is pending during a deferral period it will most likely not cause a problem unless it is in the same city. The court will most likely spot the new citation. Also, an arrest can be detected with a criminal history check easier than a new citation.

I have had clients who did not resolve a new charge (citation and new arrest) until the deferral period was done and it worked out fine. This may not be the same for all jurisdictions so each situation varies.

Can I Get Deferred Disposition with a CDL?

This Deferred Disposition does not apply to drivers who have a Commercial Drivers License (CDL). Chapter 45 Article 45.051 (f) states that a driver with a CDL is not able to take advantage of the Deferred Disposition statute.

Does this mean if you have a CDL that you lose all hope? No I have been successful in convincing open minded prosecutors to work around this. The same with construction zone tickets.

Can I Get Deferred Disposition on a Construction Zone Ticket?

Chapter 45 excludes Texas Construction Zone tickets from qualifying for Deferred Disposition. The signage needs to say “fines double when workers present”

(2) “Construction or maintenance work zone” means a portion of a highway or street:

(A) where highway construction or maintenance is being undertaken, other than mobile operations as defined by the Texas Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices; and

(B) that is marked by signs:(i) indicating that it is a construction or maintenance work zone;(ii) indicating where the zone begins and ends; and(iii) stating: “Fines double when workers present.”

Does this absolutely mean no Deferred Disposition? No this is not the end of the world. The ticket must also say “workers were present”. But the prosecutor’s I have worked with have used discretion to work around this.

Can I Get a Second Chance for my Deferred Disposition?

If something goes wrong while on Deferred Disposition it is required that the judge send notice and set a show cause hearing. The defendant is required to appear and show good cause on why the deferral should NOT be revoked.

A second chance is up to the judge to allow. This means that the deferred probation is extended a certain amount of time. If the requirements are not met during the extension, and the judge assesses a fine, then the charge becomes a final conviction. It may be tough to get the judge to extend the probation more than once without extenuating circumstances.

Conclusion

Deferred Disposition is a very beneficial resolution to a person’s case. This is a safe way to resolve a case and have it dismissed. If a person is “Not Guilty” of the ticket then a trial may be the only way to go. With a deferred the defendant does have to plead ‘guilty’ or ‘no contest’. Some people do not like to do that. Also if a person thinks that they may get more tickets during a deferred period it may be tough to complete. If that is the case have a Texas Traffic Ticket Lawyer ready.

For more information take a look at blog topics here http://erictorberson.com.

Author: Eric Torberson

Eric Torberson is a licensed attorney in Texas as well as licensed in the federal courts of the southern and western districts of Texas.