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Choosing Between Pre-Trial Diversion and Deferred Adjudication

If you have just picked up your first criminal case you are probably feeling a little overwhelmed with the decisions you need to make regarding how to resolve your case in a way that is in your best interest. If this is the first time you have been charged with a crime you may be eligible to apply for a program called pre-trial diversion. Pre-trial diversion is the best case scenario for some Defendants, however it is not for everyone. Pre-trial diversion gives defendants the opportunity to go into a program similar to probation which if the program is successfully completed the case is dismissed and the Defendant has the option to immediately request the expunction of his arrest. However, you will likely also be offered deferred adjudication which also ends with your case being dismissed, but you are only entitled to a non-disclosure after a waiting period has passed. If you have considered the facts of the case and determined that pleading is better than risking a jury trial you will need to decide if you should do pre-trial diversion or deferred adjudication probation.          


Pre-trial diversion is more expensive than deferred adjudication. This is one factor to consider when determining whether to enter the program. That is because part of completing the program is paying all costs and fees associated with it. Another difference between pre-trial diversion and deferred adjudication is the length of time before the case is dismissed. Usually you must be in a pre-trial diversion program 3 – 12 months longer than you would have to be on deferred adjudication probation.

While on either pre-trial diversion or deferred adjudication you will be required to do similar things: pay your court costs and fines, work community service hours, report to an officer every month, take classes (specific to the crime you were arrested for), and potentially do drug evaluations and start drug treatment.

The main thing to consider is how badly do I need/want the expunction vs. the non-disclosure and can I afford it? Some people just want to get their case over and done with. There are certain crimes and certain cases where a person may only need to be on deferred adjudication probation for 1 day, when if they did pre-trial diversion they would need to be in the program for 6 months. All of these things are factors to consider when determining what is best for you and your future.


At the Christiansen Law Firm we take pleading on a case very seriously and want to make sure that if pleading is the end result our client chooses that our clients pick a plea offer that they will be successful at and that will have as little impact to their future as possible. When choosing between pre-trial diversion and deferred adjudication it is important to have an attorney that understands the difference between an expunction and non-disclosure. Here at the Christiansen Law Firm our attorneys are able to discuss all aspects of your criminal case with you and can even help you obtain the expunction or non-disclosure once your case has been dismissed. Contact us to set up your free consultation today!

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810 S. Highway 6
Suite 210
Houston, Texas 77079
Phone: 281-579-2800
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San Antonio, Texas 78216
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