What Is a Deferred Prosecution Agreement?

Criminal Defense Lawyer FL

A Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) is a contract between the defendant and the State Attorney’s Office. This contract is typically negotiated between a defense attorney and a prosecutor. Typically a defendant must have no prior criminal history and in cases involving a victim (battery), the victim usually must be okay with a deferred prosecution agreement being offered.

A deferred prosecution agreement allows a person to enter into a contract with the State. Typically a person does not have to enter a plea to the charge to enter into the DPA. Once the agreement is signed by all parties (that is, the defendant, attorney, and prosecutor) the case will be closed during the period of time specified in the agreement.

The specific agreement will lay out certain conditions that the individual must complete within a certain time period, usually four to six months. Usually, you will need to complete all of the conditions a month before the contract termination date. Common conditions pay $50 to $100 of the cost of prosecution to the State Attorney’s Office, make a donation to a specific charity, complete community service, complete an anger management course (in battery or assault cases), and pay restitution to the victim.

One important thing to know is that a person who has entered into a DPA is not on probation—thus, the individual is responsible for making sure all of the conditions are completed on time. If a person is unsuccessful in completing a deferred prosecution agreement, the case will be re-opened and the State Attorney’s Office will resume active prosecution of the case. However, in certain cases, an attorney may be able to negotiate an extension or avoid a noncompliance violation.

If a person completes the conditions outlined in the contract, then at the end of the time period, the prosecutor will drop the charge or charges and that person may be eligible to have their case expunged.

Many benefits come with a deferred prosecution agreement, but in some cases they may not be the right choice. Having an experienced local attorney can help you make the right choice for your specific case.

If you were arrested, contact the Meldon Law Firm to set up a free consultation. We have the knowledge and experience to help defend you and protect your rights.