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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 29798
Experience:  Criminal Justice Degree, JD with Criminal Law Concentration. Worked for the DA and U.S. Attorney.
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Can my daughter pleased no contest and ask disposition first

Customer Question

Can my daughter pleased no contest and ask for deferred disposition for a first offense Minor in consumption charge in Texas?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Hi,

I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today.

Your daughter has the option to speak with the district attorney before entering a plea and ask if they are willing to allow her to do a deferred disposition. If she doesn't have any prior offenses, there's a good chance she will be allowed to do this. For a deferred disposition, she would plead guilty, and the judge explains the terms of the program. Usually, that means her driver's license is suspended for 30 days, she's ordered to do some community service, and she may have to pay a fine. The community service is usually related to some kind of drug or alcohol education program. Once she's fulfilled all of the requirements of the deferred disposition, then the charges against her are dismissed.

If she goes before the judge without getting a chance to talk to the DA first, she can ask him for a deferred disposition. But if she pleads no contest or guilty before reaching an agreement that she'll do a deferred disposition, then she's just going to be sentenced. She has to get the approval first (which she can do by pleading not guilty and talking to the DA after the arraignment if necessary).

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The one thing that is confusing to me is that she was told to please no contest. So if she wants a deferred adjudication she can't do that? She needs to please guilty? What if she pleads guilty and asks for the deferred disposition and the judge won't give it to her?
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

That's exactly why she has to work out the deferred disposition before she enters a plea. Once the agreement is made, if she pleads guilty, the judge will give her the deferred disposition. If she just walked up and plead guilty, the judge could impose any sentence he wanted. If she walks up and pleads no contest - that's essentially the same as a guilty plea. The judge can sentence her however he wants. The way to get a deferred disposition is to ask the DA or the judge for it before entering any plea other than not guilty.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
OK. That makes sense. So when she enters the courtroom she will speak to the DA first? And that is her time to plead guilty and ask for deferred disposition? Will the DA introduce her/himself as such?
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

The plea is given to the judge. When she goes in front of the judge, she can ask about deferred disposition before entering a plea (most judges will allow this). He should either agree or let her take a few minutes to talk to the DA (and then they'll tell point that person out to her). Sometimes the DA is available before the proceedings start, but it depends.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
OK. So just to clarify. If DA is available prior, she asks her/him to enter a guilty plea and request for deferred disposition. If not available prior she asks the judge for deferred disposition and then pleads guilty if he says ok. If the judge refers her to the DA at that point the DA can assist her. If the judge says no, does she need to say she wants to plead no contest or does it matter?
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

That's essentially it. Usually, for a deferred program, they require people to plead guilty instead of no contest.

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