If you are charged with a crime in the District of Columbia, you have several options as a defendant to possibly have your charges dropped if various requirements are met. The options include diversion programs. The type of diversion available and whether you are eligible depends on the specific charges and whether the case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office–generally misdemeanor and felony cases–or the Office of the Attorney General (OAG), which generally handles traffic cases.
The two most common diversion options offered through the Pretrial Services Agency are the deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) and the deferred sentencing agreement (DSA):
- Deferred Prosecution Agreement: the government offers to dismiss the charge(s) if the defendant fulfills certain requirements such as community service. A DPA does not require the defendant to enter a guilty plea.
- Deferred Sentencing Agreement: the defendant enters a guilty plea and sentencing is set for a later date. If the defendant is successful in completing all of the requirements set out in the agreement, then the guilty plea is withdrawn and the prosecution dismisses the case. A guilty plea is required for this option. And if the program’s requirements are not successfully completed, then a guilty finding is entered and the case proceeds to sentencing.
These options are generally contingent on various requirements including: drug testing, no further criminal activity, and other applicable requirements such as community service.
There are various other formal and informal options that offer diversion-like results, but not every program or option is equal. If you are charged with a crime in D.C., contact our office today to discuss your case and your options.