Minimum Period of Supervision That Must Be Served before Early Dismissal Can Be Granted in Texas


State v. Juvrud
Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas
March 22, 2006

Holding: Section 5 of Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Article 41.12 requires no minimum period of supervision that must be served before early dismissal can be granted.

Why This Case is Important: Article 42.12 defines the rules and procedures of being placed on community supervision. There are several ways the court may place an individual on community supervision, among those are regular community supervision, deferred adjudication, boot camp, and state-jail-felony community supervision. Each form of community supervision is imposed for various circumstances and offenses. Furthermore, each type of community supervision has its own procedures and requirements. As such, it is important to pay attention to the section of article 42.12 that governs each particular form of community supervision.

This case establishes the difference between Section 5 and Section 20 of article 42.12. Section 5 establishes the rules and procedures for deferred adjudication. Because the forms of community supervision are separate from one another, section five applies solely to deferred adjudication, and no other forms of community supervision. Section 5(c) states the requirements regarding the termination of deferred adjudication; it states “a judge may dismiss the proceedings and discharge a defendant […] if in the judge’s opinion the best interests of society and the defendant will be served.” Tex. Crim. Proc. Code Ann art. 42.12 § 5(c).

Note that there is no minimum amount of time set by Section 5 in which the court must wait before it can discharge the defendant. Section five also does not reference other sections of article 42.12 to establish when deferred adjudication can be terminated. Courts may therefore discharge a defendant from deferred adjudication anytime the judge believes it is in the best interests of society and the defendant.

The court in this case needed to resolve a dispute arising from the language of section 20 of article 42.12. Section 20 states community supervision may be discharged only after one-third of the original community supervision period or two years of community supervision had passed. Tex. Crim. Proc. Code Ann. Art 42.12 § 20. The confusion arose because of reference by section 20 to community supervision. The State interpreted “community supervision” to mean all forms of community supervision, including deferred adjudication. The State therefore argued that section 20 set a minimum time limit before community supervision could be terminated.

However, as mentioned above, each form of community supervision abides by its own rules and regulations. The court held in this case that section 20 did not apply to deferred adjudication because section five governed the rules of deferred adjudication. The court also stated that section 20 governed the procedure for early termination of community supervision after a conviction. Because these procedures were different from those of deferred adjudication, then section 20 did not control. As a result, there is no minimum time limit a court must weigh before granting early termination from deferred adjudication.

Facts of This Case: The defendant in this case pleaded guilty to one count of misapplication of fiduciary property. The defendant was placed on deferred adjudication and was ordered to community supervision for ten years. Four months later, the trial court granted an order to discharge the defendant from his community supervision and dismissed the indictment against him. The State appealed the trial court’s decision on the grounds that section 20 of article 42.12 set a minimum time limit before community supervision could be terminated.

The Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas upheld the trial court’s decision. The court stated that each form of community supervision is governed by separate rules and procedures. The court determined that section 5 of article 42.12 specifically governed deferred adjudication, and that section 5 did not set a time limit for granting early termination of deferred adjudication. The court held that section 20 did not refer to all forms of community supervision, but rather referred only to forms of community supervision that arose from an actual conviction.

The Court of Criminal Appeals thereby concluded that it was proper for the trial court to discharge the defendant from deferred adjudication after four months.

Key Language: While the title of section 20 may be misleading, a close reading of the article demonstrates that section 20 and its procedures for terminating community supervision do not apply to a defendant placed on deferred-adjudication community supervision. Rather, section 5(c) controls deferred adjudication community supervision and requires no minimum period of supervision that must be served before early dismissal.

Expert Advise: “This case establishes how important it is to know and understand the rules of Texas criminal procedure. A quick reading of section 20 of article 42.12 could lead a prosecutor to believe that there is a timing threshold to early termination of all forms of community supervision. This case saves us the time of deciphering article 42.12 and clears up this misconception, as it clearly establishes that early termination of deferred adjudication does not need to meet a minimum threshold of time.” -Attorney Mathew Higbee.

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