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What is Deferred Prosecution and is it Right for You?

Posted by attorney Christopher Daniel

Deferred prosecution is on the rise. It has become one of the favorite tools of municipal courts around the State. The name itself is indicative of the goal of these programs. To defer, or delay, prosecution of the Defendant. Programs such as deferred prosecution are big dollar businesses for small towns and help Judge’s clear their docket quickly. These programs are usually focused and offered on a DUI charge or a small drug possession charge.

The idea behind deferred prosecution is simple: The Defendant pleads guilty to the listed charge but the Judge withholds sentencing. The Defendant is then ordered to complete various tasks like drug testing and educational classes and pay fines that can total in excess of $1,000.00. Once the fines are paid and the requirements successfully completed the Defendant then returns to Court and the charge against him is nolle prossed, or dismissed.

Programs like this have been authorized under Ala. Code 12-23-5 and are spreading to nearly every city in the State. Clients with the ability and desire to complete these programs are essentially given a “clean slate" and a new opportunity. Being offered access to a deferred program by the prosecution is completely discretionary. No Defendant is necessarily entitled to the program.

Often times the drug and alcohol education classes coupled with the watchful eye of a Community Resource Officer help clients learn from their harmless mistakes and see that they are never repeated. While the road to completing a deferred prosecution program is not easy, it is most certainly straight and narrow.

If you are interested in learning more about this topic or believe you are eligible to enter a deferred program after being charged with an offense then please don’t hesitate to contact our firm.

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