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What Are Deferred Prosecution Agreements?

Understanding Deferred Prosecution Agreements: How They Can Help You Avoid Criminal Charges

When offered, a Deferred Prosecution Agreement is a great way to secure dismissal of your charges at both the felony and misdemeanor level. Importantly, do NOT confuse Deferred Prosecution with Deferred Adjudication, which will be covered in a separate blog post. Deferred adjudication can come with significant ramifications to your criminal history and it does NOT result in a dismissal. Simply put, it is not as good an offer as a deferred prosecution.

With a DPA, the defendant can have charges dismissed.

What is a Deferred Prosecution Agreement?

You won’t find a definition of a deferred prosecution in the criminal code. That’s because they are simply contracts with the prosecutor. The prosecutor agrees to drop charges. In exchange, the defendant agrees to take certain measures such as no contact with the alleged victim, classes, counseling, community service hours, etc.

Because DPAs are not codified in law, they can vary greatly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. That is why it is important to speak with a lawyer who is familiar with the local customs of a particular court. One thing to pay close attention to, is whether or not you are waiving your right to jury trial. Some agreements allow you to retain that right if you “fail” out of the program, while others do not. Always speak with your attorney about the potential consequences if you are kicked out.

Definition and Purpose

  • A deferred prosecution agreement is an alternative to traditional prosecution, allowing you to avoid being convicted, along with severe punishments and a permanent criminal record.

  • It’s an agreement (similar to a plea bargain) between the prosecutor and defendant to dismiss charges after fulfilling certain conditions, such as probation, restitution, community service, and not committing other crimes for a certain time period.

How Deferred Prosecution Agreements Work

Eligibility and Requirements

  • To be eligible, you must meet specific conditions, such as the prosecutor’s agreement, and may be required to plead guilty and admit guilt. These conditions vary greatly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but typically cater to non-violent crimes and first-offenders.

  • In some cases, you may be required to pay restitution upfront, although this may not be necessary for low-income defendants.

Benefits of Deferred Prosecution

Avoiding Criminal Charges and Reducing Penalties

  • The benefits of a deferred prosecution agreement include dismissed charges and no criminal conviction, helping you avoid collateral consequences.

  • You can avoid prosecution and the associated penalties, such as jail or prison time, fines, and a criminal record that can impact your life.

  • A deferred prosecution agreement can also help you maintain a clean criminal record.

The Role of the Serious Fraud Office in Deferred Prosecution

  • The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) plays a crucial role in deferred prosecution agreements, particularly in cases involving fraud and other serious crimes.

  • The SFO works with the Crown Prosecution Service to determine whether a deferred prosecution agreement is appropriate in a given case.

Working with a Criminal Defense Attorney

Importance of Legal Representation

  • If you’re accused of a crime, your first step should be to retain an experienced criminal defense lawyer who is familiar with criminal law and deferred prosecution agreements.

    Your attorney can determine your defenses, mount a strong defense strategy, and help you weigh your options, including a deferred prosecution agreement.

  • They can also meet with the prosecutor to discuss a deferred prosecution agreement and negotiate the terms, ensuring you receive the best possible outcome in your criminal case

If you are a person charged with an offense in Central Texas, contact us for a free consultation

Contact us for a free consultation

If you or a loved one is charged with wrongdoing, ATX Legal offers no-cost consultations to discuss your case. We also offer flat fees and payment plans for most charges. We handle cases in Travis, Hays, and Williamson counties. Contact us today by phone, text, or by filling out a contact form.

505 West 12th Street, Suite 200 Austin Texas 78701

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