If you intend to plead guilty to a sex crime in Texas, it’s time for you and your sex crime defense lawyer to focus on alternatives to prison. Though many Texas sex crimes can bring sentences that include years in prison, such sentences can be avoided in some cases.
For instance, defendants can seek pre-trial options such as deferred adjudication.
What is deferred adjudication?
Deferred adjudication is a type of plea deal which allows defendants to avoid a trial and potential conviction. This involves entering a plea of guilty, no contest or “nolo contendere” to a charge of a sex crime in exchange for the judge imposing the alternative to a trial known as deferred adjudication.
That alternative can include meeting requirements of community supervision, performing community service tasks, and attending educational programs. The court thus “defers” the finding of guilt in a trial by allowing the defendant to comply with such alternatives.
If compliance is achieved, the case is then dismissed by the judge and the defendant is not considered to have a final conviction, although the criminal charge will remain on his or her record.
The deferred adjudication alternative to sex crime trials and possible convictions is not always offered to a defendant. However, a first-time adult offender has a chance to receive this alternative, as do some juvenile or child offenders, depending on if the State offers it or a judge will do it on an open plea.
What is community supervision?
As for community supervision, also known as deferred adjudication or probation, that also can be granted by the court as an alternative to a prison sentence when a defendant pleads guilty. Such community supervision can last for as long as 2 years for a misdemeanor charge and as long as 10 years for a felony.
If the defendant completes all aspects of community supervision successfully and without any violations, no conviction will be listed on his or her record.
Some prison or jail time may be required by the court prior to the beginning of community supervision. That is up to 30 days for a misdemeanor and 180 days for a felony. After that, the period of community supervision starts, and the defendant must comply with its terms or risk being sent back to prison or jail.
For many sex offenses, community supervision lasts for at least 5 years and for up to 10 years. The 5-year minimum is because community supervision must last for as long as the minimum prison term set by Texas law for an offense. That minimum sentence is 5 years for numerous sex offenses in Texas.
Keep in mind that community supervision for a sex offense can involve many requirements. These may include:
- Submission of a DNA sample to law officers
- Registering as a sex offender
- Refraining from any contact with minors
- Attending educational programs
- Accepting GPS or electronic monitoring
- Being tested for alcohol and other drugs
- Paying restitution to victims
- Performing community service
- Reporting to a probation office
Get a Houston-area sex crime defense lawyer
As you can see, alternatives are available to prison or jail time when it comes to Texas sex crime offenses. But persons in the Houston area need to get an experienced sex crime defense lawyer to handle their case and to argue for such alternatives.
The Neal Davis Law Firm has helped many such defendants in Houston, Sugar Land, The Woodlands and elsewhere in Harris County, Fort Bend County and Montgomery County. Give us the opportunity to help you, too.