Jefferson Memorial

Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) in D.C.

A deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) is a pre-trial “diversion program” that is sometimes offered in Washington, D.C. to first-time offenders of a minor offense.  As with all diversion programs, a DPA is an agreement between the government and the defendant.  It allows the  defendant to perform a set of conditions in exchange for the charges being dismissed before trial.  The defendant does not admit guilt by entering into such an agreement.

Although the terms of a DPA are negotiable, the typical DPA provides for the defendant to perform 32 hours of community service over a four-month period. If the defendant fails to perform his end of the agreement, he or she is put back into the same position the defendant faced before the diversion program; that is, facing criminal charges.

According to formal guidance offered by the Office of the U.S. Attorney, DPAs are only offered to defendants with three or fewer prior convictions within the past 10 years.  Charges that are eligible for a DPA include misdemeanor drugs cases (with the exception of PCP, K2 or synthetic drugs), simple assault, threats or assault on a police officer.  DPAs are not offered in domestic violence cases.  

Although some clients might prefer to exercise their constitutional right to a trial, a DPA is generally a good outcome for the defendant.  After all, in contrast to a trial in which the outcome can be unpredictable in even the best-case scenario, successful completion of the DPA is completely within the control of the defendant:  the defendant knows that the charges will be dismissed just as soon as he or she successfully completes the agreed-upon conditions.

Click here for a sample Deferred Prosecution Agreement.

Jamison Koehler has a proven track record of securing favorable diversion programs for clients.  Please feel free to contact him at 202-549-2374 or with any questions.