A deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) is a legal arrangement between a prosecutor and a defendant, which allows the defendant to avoid criminal charges and a trial by agreeing to fulfill certain requirements. Although DPAs are primarily used in the corporate context, they can also be used in individual criminal cases.
DPAs are typically used in cases where the prosecutor has evidence of criminal conduct, but is not sure that they have enough evidence to secure a conviction at trial. In a DPA, the prosecutor agrees to defer prosecution for a set period of time, during which the defendant must fulfill certain requirements. If the defendant fails to meet these requirements, the prosecutor can revoke the DPA and proceed with the criminal charges.
The requirements of a DPA can vary depending on the case, but they often include fines, restitution, community service, and other measures aimed at remedying the harm caused by the defendant`s conduct. In some cases, the DPA may also require the defendant to implement specific compliance measures, such as adopting new policies or procedures to prevent future misconduct.
DPAs have become increasingly common in recent years as a way for prosecutors to hold corporations accountable for their conduct without resorting to criminal charges that could harm innocent employees and stakeholders. However, DPAs have also been criticized for being too lenient on corporate wrongdoers and for failing to hold individuals accountable for their actions.
Ultimately, whether a DPA is seen as a fair and effective resolution to a criminal case depends on the specific circumstances of the case and the goals of the prosecutor and defendant. However, it is important for anyone involved in a DPA to understand the terms of the agreement and to fulfill their obligations in a timely and complete manner to avoid any potential consequences.