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Criminal procedure

deferred prosecution agreement

A deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) is an agreed arrangement between a prosecutor and a person or entity (defendant) to resolve an allegation of wrongdoing that might otherwise be prosecuted as a criminal offense (crime).

A DPA is unlike a plea bargain, a sentence of probation, or a sentence of deferred adjudication, because in those instances the defendant is convicted of a crime—but a person or entity who enters a DPA is not convicted of a crime and the result may be dismissal of the charges.

In Texas, a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) is a discretionary pre-trial intervention tool used by prosecutors to resolve allegations of wrongdoing without a criminal conviction. Under a DPA, the defendant agrees to fulfill certain requirements, such as paying restitution, undergoing treatment, or engaging in community service, in exchange for the eventual dismissal of charges. This agreement is typically used for first-time offenders or for those charged with minor offenses. It is important to note that a DPA is not a right but an option that the prosecutor may offer at their discretion. If the defendant successfully complies with the terms of the DPA, the charges are usually dismissed, meaning there is no criminal conviction on the defendant's record. However, failure to meet the conditions can result in the reinstatement of the criminal process. DPAs in Texas are distinct from plea bargains, probation, or deferred adjudication, all of which involve a finding or admission of guilt, whereas a DPA does not.

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