Question: If I choose deferred adjudication for a speeding ticket are all charges dismissed?
Answer: It will depend upon your state’s laws regarding deferred adjudication, or adjudication withheld as it’s sometimes called. In some cases, it does mean that the ticket is dismissed, but it depends on the state. Deferred adjudication is better known as probation.
A basic definition of adjudication in the legal world is a judicial decision that ends a legal proceeding by a judgment of acquittal, conviction, or dismissal of the case.
For example, in Texas, deferred adjudication is a type of probation only available after a plea of guilty or no contest. Once a defendant pleads guilty or no contest, the judge can postpone a finding of guilt and place the defendant on deferred adjudication. The judge will hand down the terms and conditions of the deferred adjudication, which the defendant must follow. At the end of the probationary period, their ticket will be dismissed.
If the defendant violates the terms or conditions of the deferred adjudication, the probation can be revoked. In that case, the conviction appears on the defendant’s driving or criminal record.
So, at least in Texas, the deferment (postponement) of the adjudication (in this case, a guilty plea) can be permanent if the person completes the terms of the probation.
Essentially, this process allows a person to admit guilt without actually being convicted. Because there is no conviction, the offense doesn’t appear on that person’s criminal record.
According to the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, any defendant charged with a misdemeanor crime is eligible for deferred adjudication, except driving, flying or boating while intoxicated. Traffic tickets are eligible.
Washington State also allows deferred adjudication for traffic tickets. In Washington, if you have received a traffic infraction, you may be eligible for what here is called a deferred finding.
A driver can qualify for a deferred finding if they have not taken this option on a traffic ticket within the last seven years. Upon successful completion of the deferral conditions, your ticket will be dismissed. You may defer only one moving infraction and one non-moving infraction every seven years.
In Florida, if you receive a ticket for a moving violation and elect to attend traffic school instead of getting points put on your driving record, this can be called withheld adjudication or adjudication of guilt withheld.
According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, the benefits of this choice are that the ticket won’t affect your car insurance rates, and your policy cannot be cancelled due to this violation, unless you were involved a crash where you were at fault.
While there are benefits to requesting that adjudication be withheld in Florida, the charges are not dismissed, and the violation will be entered on your Florida driver history record as an “adjudication withheld.” So here, the judgment is just withheld indefinitely, while in other states, the deferral system eventually dismisses the traffic charge.
To find out if your state will dismiss the speeding ticket if you choose to defer adjudication, contact the court listed on your ticket and your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles. Either office should be able to inform you how your state deals with this type of plea for traffic tickets.