Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) in D.C.

A deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) is a pre-trial “diversion program” that is normally offered to first-time offenders of a minor offense.  As with all diversion programs, a DPA is an agreement between the government and the defendant in which the defendant performs 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.

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.

Covid-19 update:  By order of the D.C. Superior Court on April 1, 2020, the timeframe for all DPAs and other types of diversion programs have been continued along with most other misdemeanor matters.  In other words, status dates have been postponed (many until 2021), and the agreements will remain in effect during this time.  In situations in which the defendant has already completed the terms of the agreement, the government might agree to simply dismiss the case early.  

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 jkoehler@koehlerlaw.net with any questions.

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