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What Is Deferred Disposition?
Deferred disposition is a special type of probation that is only applicable to a Class C misdemeanor. Unlike traditional probation or deferred adjudication (which applies to Class A and B misdemeanors and felonies), there are no reporting requirements for deferred disposition. You will not have to report to a probation officer, attend monthly meetings, or pay probationary fees.
To be eligible for deferred disposition, you must enter a plea of guilty or no-contest to the ticket; however, the Court defers its finding of guilt pending a probationary period. Upon successful completion of the terms of the deferral, the traffic ticket will be dismissed, and a conviction will not be reported to the State. As a result, the violation will not appear on your driving record, will not cause any issues with your driver’s license, and your insurer will not be able to use the conviction as a means to raising your premiums.
The typical terms for deferral of a traffic ticket will include a fine and a probationary period during which you cannot be issued an additional traffic citation. The Judge may place additional stipulations on the probation, like requiring a defensive driving course, performing a specified number of community service hours, or any other reasonable condition imposed by the Judge. The terms of the deferral period are typically 60 to 90 days but may last as long as 180 days. If you were under the age of 25 when the alleged offense was committed, you must take a defensive driving course in addition to the probationary period and the fine to be offered deferred disposition on a moving violation. If you have taken a defensive driving class in the past year, you can still take a driver’s safety course as a condition of a deferred disposition offer.
Proof of Compliance May Be Required for a Deferred Disposition Offer
If you were issued a citation for no insurance (FMFR – Failure to Maintain Responsibility), you might be required to show proof of current insurance before the Court will offer deferred disposition and/or you may have to submit proof that you had insurance during the entire probation period.
If you were issued a citation for a driver’s license violation, such as no driver’s license, driving while license invalid (DWLI) or expired driver’s license, you may need to show proof of a valid driver’s license before the Court will offer deferred disposition, or you may have to submit proof of a valid license during your probation period.
Deferred Disposition Is Not Always Available
By statute, deferred disposition is not available for certain violations committed in a construction or maintenance zone when workers are present, moving violations issued to holders of a commercial driver’s license (CDL) or holders of a commercial learner’s permit (CLP). Some courts may not offer deferred disposition for certain violations the Court deems serious, such as speeding 25 miles per hour over the speed limit. However, courts are considerably more likely to offer deferred disposition in these situations to an attorney than to the driver who received the citation.
Failure to Complete Terms of Deferment
If you fail to complete the terms of the probation, such as failing to pay the fine by the due date or failing to turn in a certificate of defensive driving on time, your case may result in a final conviction. The same will happen if you are issued an additional traffic citation during the deferral period.
Some courts will make you verify that you did not receive a new citation anywhere during your deferred disposition probation period; however, most courts are only concerned with new citations issued in their jurisdiction.
If you fail to complete each of the terms of the deferred disposition, the Court will schedule a show cause hearing. A show cause hearing is a chance to discuss why the Court should not revoke your probation offer and enter a conviction. If the probation is revoked, the violation will be reported to the Texas Department of Public Safety. If you cannot comply with your probation terms, contact one of our traffic ticket attorneys to discuss your options, we may be able to request additional time for compliance.
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If you have received a traffic citation in Fort Worth, Arlington, Dallas, or one of the surrounding cities, an experienced traffic ticket attorney at Hawkins & Walker, PC is ready to help you fight to keep your record clean.
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