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What is “Deferred Prosecution”?

Deferred Prosecution can be a pretty sweet deal, usually only offered to people accused of fairly minor offenses who have no prior criminal history. A person who successfully completes deferred prosecution will have his case dismissed, and therefore will continue to have no criminal history. It’s not all a bed of roses, though. Deferred prosecution agreements require defendants to plead guilty and then do several time consuming and sometimes expensive requirements. If the person fails, they have already entered a guilty plea, and they are taken back to court to receive a sentence and a criminal record. Because you give up your right to trial, it is really important not to enter into a deferred prosecution agreement unless you are really guilty of the charges.

Some of the standard requirements for a deferred prosecution agreement are:

  • The agreement shall be in writing, signed by the district attorney or his or her designee, a representative of the department and the defendant.

  • The defendant admits, in writing, all of the elements of the crime charged.

  • The defendant participates in therapy or in community programs and to abide by any conditions imposed under the therapy or programs.

  • The defendant performs community service.

  • The defendant pays monthly fees to the State for administering the agreement, plus any fees for classes and counseling ordered.

  • The defendant refrains from using alcohol or drugs, if these were part of the offense, and may be subject to random testing.

  • Pay restitution (money to compensate a crime victim’s loss).

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