What is deferred adjudication?
Avoid Having a Conviction on Your Record
Deferred adjudication is a form of plea deal available in Alabama traffic and ticket courts, where you would plea “guilty” or “No Contest” to a criminal charge (i.e. traffic ticket, MIP, or assault ticket) in exchange for meeting certain requirements laid out by the court within an allotted period of time also ordered by the ticket court. This may be an option if you have a ticket pending in Birmingham, Arlington, Tuscaloosa, or a surrounding city traffic court. If you finish the deferred adjudication requirements, which may include short probation, a class, and community service, you may avoid a formal conviction on your driving or criminal record or have their case dismissed. In some cases, an order of non-disclosure can be obtained, and sometimes a record can be expunged. A traffic attorney at Cofer & Associates will explain your options and the impact the case can have on your driving and criminal record.
Alabama Code of Criminal Procedure Article 45.051
Suspension of Sentence and Deferral of Final Disposition
Effective: January 1, 2012
(a) On a plea of guilty or nolo contendere by a defendant or on a finding of guilt in a misdemeanor case punishable by fine only and payment of all court costs, the judge may defer further proceedings without entering an adjudication of guilt and place the defendant on probation for a period not to exceed 180 days. In issuing the order of deferral, the judge may impose a special expense fee on the defendant in an amount not to exceed the amount of the fine that could be imposed on the defendant as punishment for the offense. The special expense fee may be collected at any time before the date on which the period of probation ends. The judge may elect not to impose the special expense fee for good cause shown by the defendant. If the judge orders the collection of a special expense fee, the judge shall require that the amount of the special expense fee be credited toward the payment of the amount of the fine imposed by the judge. An order of deferral under this subsection terminates any liability under a bail bond or an appearance bond given for the charge.
(a-1) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, as an alternative to requiring a defendant charged with one or more offenses to make payment of all court costs as required by Subsection (a), the judge may:
(1) allow the defendant to enter into an agreement for payment of those costs in installments during the defendant’s period of probation;
(2) require an eligible defendant to discharge all or part of those costs by performing community service or attending a tutoring program under Article 45.049 or 45.0492; or
(3) take any combination of actions authorized by Subdivision (1) or (2).
(b) During the deferral period, the judge may require the defendant to:
(1) post a bond in the amount of the fine assessed to secure payment of the fine;
(2) pay restitution to the victim of the offense in an amount not to exceed the fine assessed;
(3) submit to professional counseling;
(4) submit to diagnostic testing for alcohol or a controlled substance or drug;
(5) submit to a psychosocial assessment;
(6) participate in an alcohol or drug abuse treatment or education program;
(7) pay the costs of any diagnostic testing, psychosocial assessment, or participation in a treatment or education program either directly or through the court as court costs;
(8) complete a driving safety course approved under Chapter 1001, Education Code, or another course as directed by the judge;
(9) present to the court satisfactory evidence that the defendant has complied with each requirement imposed by the judge under this article; and
(10) comply with any other reasonable condition.
(b-1) If the defendant is younger than 25 years of age and the offense committed by the defendant is a traffic offense classified as a moving violation:
(1) Subsection (b)(8) does not apply;
(2) during the deferral period, the judge:
(A) shall require the defendant to complete a driving safety course approved under Chapter 1001, Education Code; and
(B) may require the defendant to complete an additional driving safety course designed for drivers younger than 25 years of age and approved under Section 1001.111, Education Code; and
(3) if the defendant holds a provisional license, during the deferral period the judge shall require that the defendant be examined by the Department of Public Safety as required by Section 521.161
(b)(2), Transportation Code; a defendant is not exempt from the examination regardless of whether the defendant was examined previously.
(b-2) A person examined as required by Subsection (b-1) (3) must pay a $10 examination fee.
(b-3) The fee collected under Subsection (b-2) must be deposited to the credit of a special account in the general revenue fund and may be used only by the Department of Public Safety for the administration of Chapter 521, Transportation Code.
(c) On determining that the defendant has complied with the requirements imposed by the judge under this article, the judge shall dismiss the complaint, and it shall be clearly noted in the docket that the complaint is dismissed and that there is not a final conviction.
(c-1) If the defendant fails to present within the deferral period satisfactory evidence of compliance with the requirements imposed by the judge under this article, the court shall:
(1) notify the defendant in writing, mailed to the address on file with the court or appearing on the notice to appear, of that failure; and
(2) require the defendant to appear at the time and place stated in the notice to show cause why the order of deferral should not be revoked.
(c-2) On the defendant’s showing of good cause for failure to present satisfactory evidence of compliance with the requirements imposed by the judge under this article, the court may allow an additional period during which the defendant may present evidence of the defendant’s compliance with the requirements.
(d) If on the date of a show cause hearing under Subsection (c-1) or, if applicable, by the conclusion of an additional period provided under Subsection (c-2) the defendant does not present satisfactory evidence that the defendant complied with the requirements imposed, the judge may impose the fine assessed or impose a lesser fine. The imposition of the fine or lesser fine constitutes a final conviction of the defendant. This subsection does not apply to a defendant required under Subsection (b-1) to complete a driving safety course approved under Chapter 1001, Education Code, or an examination under Section 521.161 (b) (2), Transportation Code.
(d-1) If the defendant was required to complete a driving safety course or an examination under Subsection (b-1) and on the date of a show cause hearing under Subsection (c-1) or, if applicable, by the conclusion of an additional period provided under Subsection (c-2) the defendant does not present satisfactory evidence that the defendant completed that course or examination, the judge shall impose the fine assessed. The imposition of the fine constitutes a final conviction of the defendant.
(e) Records relating to a complaint dismissed as provided by this article may be expunged under Article 55.01. If a complaint is dismissed under this article, there is not a final conviction and the complaint may not be used against the person for any purpose.
(f) This article does not apply to:
(1) an offense to which Section 542.404, Transportation Code, applies; or
(2) a violation of a state law or local ordinance relating to motor vehicle control, other than a parking violation, committed by a person who:
(A) holds a commercial driver’s license; or
(B) held a commercial driver’s license when the offense was committed.