Once police officers arrest you and a judge arraigns you for a criminal offense, you are likely to end up with a criminal record. A significant number of people plead guilty and hope that the courts will show mercy when sentencing them. They don’t think ahead of time about the impact of a criminal record.
A record can affect your educational opportunities, employment and professional licensing. Drug convictions can affect professionals in many industries, as well as students hoping to start a career in the future. While social attitudes about drugs have changed a lot in recent years, the Texas state government and many employers still take a dim view of those convicted of drug offenses.
Can you avoid a criminal record when accused of a drug offense in Texas?
Pleading guilty won’t work
Even if you accept a plea deal to a lesser offense, employers and educational institutions can still learn about the original charges against you. A guilty plea does not protect you from a criminal record in all but the rarest of cases where you negotiate certain arrangements as part of the plea deal.
Going to drug court could help
If there is irrefutable evidence connecting you to a drug offense, you could potentially request adjudication in the Texas drug courts. The goal of the drug courts is to help those struggling with substance abuse improve their lives by addressing their addiction.
If you successfully complete the drug court process, you can avoid a criminal conviction and keep your record clean. Drug court proceedings may require months of intensive involvement and possibly inpatient treatment, but successful completion of the program will mean that you walk away without a criminal record.
Successfully defending yourself will help
If you can prove that you weren’t the person involved in the alleged offense or can otherwise build a successful defense against the charges, you will avoid drug charges on your criminal record. While the record of your court proceedings may be public, you shouldn’t face social or professional penalties for a charge that you successfully defended against in criminal court.
Understanding the effective ways to avoid a criminal record can help you protect yourself when the state charges you with a drug crime.