Texarkana, TX asked in Criminal Law for Texas

Q: Does a judge have any obligation to inform you at sentencing that he/she has decided not to grant deferred adjudication?

If a judge, the ADA, and the defendants attorney all agree to deferred adjudication at pre trial hearing and the judge explains the process to the defendant (including the fact that a plea of guilty has to be entered in order to be granted deferred adjudication and then asks for the defendant to enter a plea at that time) is there any obligation to inform the defendant of any changes to that agreement at the sentencing hearing a week later? In this case the defendant had no previous criminal history (other than a few traffic violations), had shown a solid, long term employment record and residency. ADA had no problem with deferred adjudication as there was no reason not to grant the request. However, during sentencing the judge entered a sentence of 5 yrs probation/2 yrs confinement. He never indicated he wasn't going with the deferred adjudication previously agreed upon or gave the option to change the plea.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Lucio Antonio Montes
Lucio Antonio Montes
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Houston, TX
  • Licensed in Texas

A: If the person entered a plea without an agreed recommendation, then the person opens himself up for the full range of punishment. The decision rest solely on the judge. I am guessing that is what happened in this case. However, if the plea papers indicated an agreement with the prosecutor, then the judge will always indicate whether he or she will be following the recommendation. If the judge decides that he or she is not accepting the agreement of the parties, then the defendant has the option to withdraw the plea of guilty. You might want to speak with his defense attorney to get some clarification.

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