The biggest mistake a Houston Criminal Defense Attorney can make is telling their clients after a deferred adjudication probation, that their record is clean. Deferred adjudication is a type of probation where your case is dismissed if you finish the probation successfully. So it is true that you do not have a conviction…BUT THE ARREST RECORD REMAINS VISIBLE TO EVERYONE!
The problem with deferred adjudication is that everyone who works in HR departments understands that you pled guilty to be placed on deferred, and the only reason that your case was dismissed was because you did probation. To employers, apartment complexes, and schools, that dismissal is the same thing as a conviction. They don’t care that you have a piece of paper saying that your record is clean. In order to seal your record after you finish deferred, you need to file a motion for non-disclosure.
A motion for non-disclosure does not completely wipe your record clean, it will still be visible to governmental agencies and law enforcement, but THE GENERAL PUBLIC WILL NOT HAVE ACCESS TO THE RECORD!
Apartments, schools, and public jobs will no longer see that you were arrested, thus making your life less stressful. In order to be eligible you must have finished your deferred adjudication probation. With some misdemeanors you must wait two years after you finish probation to file for the non-disclosure. Other types of misdemeanors allow you to file immediately upon completion of the probation (some judges has rules that you must wait a certain amount of time depending on the type of crime. Call a local Criminal Lawyer in Houston to get a more personal evaluation). HOWEVER, IF YOU WERE ON DEFERRED FOR A FELONY YOU MUST WAIT FIVE YEARS AFTER YOU COMPLETE YOUR DEFERRED ADJUDICATION PROBATION BEFORE YOU CAN FILE.
There is always one big catch. You are NOT ELIGIBLE TO A NON-DISCLOSURE if you have been previously convicted of or placed on probation for any of the following:
- Sexual performance by a child
- Possession of production of child pornography
- Unlawful restraint, kidnapping, or aggravated kidnapping of anyone under the age of 17
- Attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit any of these listed offenses
- Capital murder
- Indecency with a child
- Sexual assault
- Aggravated sexual assault
- Prohibited sexual conduct (incest)
- Aggravated kidnapping
- Compelling prostitution
- Injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual
- Abandoning or endangering a child
- Violation of protective order or magistrate’s order
- Burglary of a habitation with the intent to commit any of the above offenses
- Any other offense involving family violence
You also will not be eligible to get a non-disclosure if you were convicted of another crime after you finished your deferred adjudication! I know it is confusing, so if you have any questions, find a Houston Criminal Defense Attorney that is willing to assist you.
Texting and driving is a dangerous. It is also a great way to get pulled over and suspected of DWI. Every Houston DWI Attorney has had a client come into their office and explain the reason they were weaving was because they were texting a friend, not because they were drunk.
Studies have shown that texting while driving is actually more dangerous than driving while intoxicated and driving while on the phone combined. I mean, think about it. When you are drunk you are watching the road. When you are talking on your phone, you are watching the road. But when you text, you are looking at your phone searching for each letter/number.
So what does this have to do with DWI? When you swerve around the road it looks like you are drunk! So if you have had anything to drink at all you should just turn your phone off and put it away. It is not worth being arrested. You might be driving legally (under a blood alcohol level of .08), but you are going to appear as if you were more intoxicated based on your bad driving. Prosecutors love to use bad driving facts against you in court, so don’t give them any more ammunition than necessary.
Some attorneys have used a texting while driving defense, and sure, the studies related to texting while driving could show that was the reason for the poor driving. But what the jury is going to be able to interpret is, “Well he wasn’t legally drunk, he just looked that bad on the road because he was doing something that has been proven to be even more dangerous than driving drunk!”
So legally it could be a good defense, but you sure are not going to win the heart of jurors. But if you are stuck in the unfortunate position of being charged with DWI when you were not drunk, then you need to contact a Houston DWI Attorney as soon as possible. This defense is just one of many creative defenses that have been thrown around the courthouse.
Of course every case is different, so this might not pertain to you. But hopefully you can read this, store it in the memory bank, pass it on to friends, and try to prevent it from happening in the future. Again, if something does happen, a good DWI Lawyer in Houston should be able to break the case down for you and explain every possible outcome.