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The United States has been in the business of giving Deferred Prosecution Agreements (“DPA”) to corporate entities for several years. But, what if you are not a huge company and hope to benefit from a Deferred Prosecution? The good news is that in some instances you can.

A DPA is an agreement between a person or a company that sets out certain conditions that must be met. Conditions for companies may include corporate compliance programs, the appointment of a corporate monitor or integrity counsel, or large monetary penalties. For individuals the conditions could be a term of supervision by pretrial services, paying a fine, or community service. The conditions are detailed specifically in the Deferred Prosecution Agreement and if they are met a person can have their charges dismissed.

Obviously, if you have been charged with a crime dismissal is the best outcome you can get. A DPA agreement can be a good way to achieve that result if you are able to convince the United States to offer it to you. However, reaching an agreement for a Deferred Prosecution with the government is a difficult task and requires significant preparation and determination by your defense attorney.

Some of the factors the government considers when determining whether a DPA is viable are prior criminal history, the type of offense, the seriousness of the offense, your personal history and many others. If you have the kinds of qualities that may persuade the government to offer a DPA, you must make a written request in some districts. For example, a request for a DPA must be made in writing to the Southern District of New York. Afterwards, a panel of supervising Assistant United States Attorneys confer and vote on whether a DPA should be offered. There is also an internal appeals process if you first request is denied. However, only a select few are granted.

Because DPA’s are so difficult to achieve for individuals, it is important to have an experienced white collar criminal and federal criminal defense attorney to guide you through the process.