You got arrested. You accepted a deferred adjudication and successfully completed it. And now you’re either about to apply for a job in a new school district, or you’re about to apply for your teaching certificate for the first time, and you want to make sure your record is clean.
A deferred adjudication is a form of probation. If successfully completed, no final conviction appears on your record. If asked if you’ve ever been convicted of a crime, you can say no and you will be telling the truth. However, a criminal background check will show the arrest and deferred adjudication, so the school district and Texas Education Agency will see this. And you will have to explain what happened and why you are still fit to teach the youth of our state.
Deferred adjudication is possibly the most misunderstood provision in our criminal justice system. Accepting a deferred adjudication does NOT mean that you have no record. And there is no way to remove the deferred adjudication from your record, short of a pardon from the governor.
Expunction is a proceeding that allows a court to remove criminal history from your record. But the circumstances that qualify for expunction are extremely narrow, and deferred adjudication will never, ever qualify for expunction.
Expunction can be obtained if:
1. You were arrested but released without a final conviction or deferred adjudication, and
2. You do not have a felony conviction within five years prior to the arrest
Expunction is appropriate for persons who were never indicted, indicted but not prosecuted, or who were acquitted at a trial. That’s pretty much it.