Deferred Prosecution Agreements for Misdemeanor Cases – Am I eligible? Should I take it?
In the District of Columbia, the US Attorneys will offer a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) for some people who are charged with a misdemeanor case. So what is a DPA in the District of Columbia? In order to understand what a DPA is, lets use an example.
Lets say you are charged with a misdemeanor simple assault after unfortunate bar fight. You say but the other guy started it. Your culpability may be somewhat limited, in other words you deny the charges. However, the US Attorneys offers you a DPA. Under the DPA ,the case will be continued for 4 months and you will agree to do certain things,like community service or stay away from a location.
Am I Eligible for a DPA
Remember, the prosecution controls whether you are eligible. The factors that may be considered whether a DPA is offered is the 1) strengths and weakness of their case; 2) prior criminal record of the defendant; 3) social and economic benefit to the community in offering diversion; 4) culpability of the individual ; 5) character of the defendant; 6) interest of justice.
Should I Take the DPA
Absolutely! Even if you think you may be able to win your case, take the DPA. Even if you get Johnny Cochran to come back and try your case still take the DPA. Why? Because you control the outcome of the case. I have heard defendants say “but why should I do the community service if I did nothing wrong.” The reason is because the objective is to get out of the criminal justice system as fast as you can even if it cost you a few hours doing community service. Remember you are not going to court to prove your innocence, the government is trying to prove you are guilty of a crime. If you successfully complete the DPA you will not have a criminal conviction.