DEFERRED PROSECUTION AGREEMENTS – WHAT ARE THEY?

A Deferred Prosecutions Agreement (DPA) is a way to get your case dismissed without an adjudication of guilt. That means your are not found guilty.  You don’t have to admit you are guilty.  And you case can be dismissed.  For some clients, that’s an appealing option.

In Virginia it’s called “adjournment in contemplation of dismissal.” In Maryland, the “stet docket.” But the bottom line is that you don’t plead guilty – or say anything at all about what happened.

Other options for first time offenders such as Section 904 dispositions, or Probation Before Judgment in Maryland, do require a guilty plea, and that can be used against you in some circumstances. For example, in immigration cases, the INS doesn’t give a defendant any break for a Probation Before Judgment disposition. The INS treats it just like any other conviction.

But a DPA is not a conviction, because a client never admits guilty, and a judge never enters a guilty finding.

In DC, to be eligible for a DPA you need to test negative for drugs and complete 32 hours of community service. With the new “one-and-done” drug testing program, that can work for many clients.

Be aware that you may be drug tested at your first arraignment following a citation release. That could be your final drug test, if the results are negative.



Categories: 1st time offender, 904.01(e), Deferred Prosecution Agreement, DPA, Drug Testing, Superior Court

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2 replies

  1. I tested negative at arraignment but am nervous that I will get tested again on my court date on march 20th? even after I was negative do you think the judge will test me again? My PD says no but I am nervous that it could effect my DPA.

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  1. NEW DEFERRED SENTENCING GUIDELINES IN DC FOR MARIJUANA OFFENDERS « DC Marijuana Law

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