Deferred Prosecution is a formal agreement by the State to drop charges against a Defendant upon completion of certain conditions such as probation, restitution, and community service. North Carolina authorizes such agreements under N.C.G.S. 15A-1341(a1). The following are generally requirements to qualify for deferred prosecution, although the District Attorney is free to offer any deal he or she wishes.
The obvious benefit for the Defendant who is offered Deferred Prosecution is the opportunity to avoid any convictions and/or jail time. The risk to entering into a Deferred Prosecution is that a formal agreement signed by the Defendant usually waives the right to a trial and admits guilt. Upon breach of the agreement by the Defendant he or she is subject to a quick conviction on all charges and has essentially waived all defenses.
What is a formal deferred prosecution?
A formal deferred prosecution involves a written agreement signed by the DA and the Defendant entered in open Court in front of a Judge.
What is an informal deferred prosecution?
An informal deferred prosecution is usually reserved for misdemeanors and may not require a written agreement or confession in open Court.
What is Deferred Prosecution Lite?
Deferred Prosecution Lite is a program in Mecklenburg County NC for low level crimes like misdemeanor larceny or possession of marijuana or alcohol whereby upon completion of either a Cognitive Behavior Intervention (“CBI”) class or drug awareness class charges are dropped.
What is the 90-96 program?
The 90-96 program involves the conditional discharge of certain drug charges. This program is used in lieu of deferred prosecution in Union County, NC.
What if I am not offered Deferred Prosecution?
The program is at the discretion of the DA and nobody is entitled to this program option as a matter of right.
Do I have to have an attorney to obtain Deferred Prosecution?
An attorney is not required, but is always advisable in criminal Court. If you cannot afford an attorney you may be eligible for a Court appointed attorney.
Is there any advantage to having an attorney?
Perhaps an attorney can explain to the District Attorney that you have no guilt whatsoever and therefore the case should be dismissed, without the formal deferred prosecution process. Another possibility is an informal deferred prosecution as opposed to formal deferred prosecution.
Should I sign a formal deferred prosecution agreement?
The risk to signing a formal deferred prosecution agreement is that it’s essentially a confession that will be used to convict you if you fail to abide by the terms of the agreement.
If I plan to abide by the terms of the agreement what is the risk?
The risk is these days it’s easy to be charged with a crime for which you have no culpability. If you are in the car with friends and an officer finds marijuana and nobody confesses often the entire car is charged.
Can I expunge any charges after a Deferred Prosecution?
If the charges were dismissed then you should be eligible for expunction if you have never had an expunction before. Be aware there is now a $175 fee to expunge charges dismissed as a result of Deferred Prosecution.