Deferred Prosecution Agreements

A Deferred Prosecution Agreement (a “DPA”) is an agreement between the government (usually, the Department of Justice) and a defendant (a business or individual) wherein the government promises that it will not criminally prosecute the defendant to conviction so long as the defendant takes certain remedial actions. Once the defendant completes the promised actions, the government dismisses all criminal charges against the defendant, leaving the defendant without a criminal record. Defendants who violate the terms of the agreement are returned for prosecution.

Originally, Deferred Prosecution Agreements were mostly used in dealing with individual criminal defendants. However, over the last decade, the government has been increasingly using DPA’s in regards to the conduct of corporations, and as a way to end a criminal investigation into a corporation, and thus, to resolve an investigation without bringing actual criminal charges against a corporation.

In a deferred prosecution, a prosecutor obtains an indictment against an offender but defers prosecution in exchange for the defendant’s waiver of a speedy trial, admission of wrongdoing, commitment to rehabilitation, and, in the case of a corporation, the purging of guilty executives. If the prosecutor agrees at the close of the deferral period that the offender has cooperated with the authorities, has been rehabilitated, and has made restitution when applicable, the prosecutor may dismiss the indictment and free the offender from criminal liability in that jurisdiction. If the offender has breached the agreement, the prosecutor can prosecute the indictment, using the offender's admissions against him. In fact, any admissions made in the deferred prosecution agreement can be used to impeach the defendant at any subsequent trial.

Thorn Law Group has extensive knowledge of Deferred Prosecution Agreements and would welcome the opportunity to answer any questions or concerns. Please contact Kevin E. Thorn at 202 349-4033 to discuss if a DPA may benefit you or your business.



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