If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges in Alabama, it’s important to understand the possibility of deferred prosecution. Keep reading to learn what it is and how it could help you.
What is deferred prosecution?
In Alabama, deferred prosecution is a plea agreement where the defendant agrees to certain conditions set by the prosecutor. If they meet those conditions, the charges against them will be dismissed.
Deferred prosecution agreements are typically used in cases where the defendant is accused of a nonviolent crime, and the prosecutor believes that they are unlikely to re-offend. Before agreeing to this, your criminal defense attorney must confirm that pleading guilty has less impact on your life in general (including your reputation) and is better than going to trial.
What are the requirements?
To be eligible for deferred prosecution, you must meet some requirements:
- Pleading guilty to the charges against you
- Completing a specific set of conditions, including community service, drug or alcohol treatment, or restitution payments
- Staying out of trouble during the deferral period, which is typically one year
Benefits of deferred prosecution in Alabama
The most apparent benefit is avoiding jail time and a criminal record. This can be extremely helpful if facing charges that could lead to a prison sentence. Additionally, deferred prosecution allows you to get your life back on track by completing drug or alcohol treatment, paying restitution, or completing community service hours. Finally, it can also help reduce sentencing if you are convicted of a crime in the future.
Deferred prosecution agreements are not available in every case. Whether or not you will be offered one depends on many factors, including the severity of the crime, your criminal history (if any), and whether or not the prosecutor believes that deferred prosecution is in the best interest of justice. Ensure always to ask if this could be an option when convicted.