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What You Should Know About Deferred Prosecution in Arizona

by Aaron M. Black • October 22, 2020

If you are currently facing criminal charges, then you may have to decide whether or not to take your case to trial. In many cases, defendants are offered a plea bargain or are given the opportunity to enter into a voluntary diversion program known as deferred prosecution.

With a deferred prosecution, defendants are not required to plead guilty and have the opportunity to participate in a rehabilitation program. Once you have successfully completed this program, your charges are dismissed.

In Maricopa County, deferred prosecution programs are available for only certain types of criminal cases. An experienced Phoenix criminal defense attorney can inform you if deferred prosecution is a possibility for your particular case. He or she can also advise you on whether accepting an offer of deferred prosecution is the right move for you.

Am I Eligible for Deferred Prosecution?

Have you made a mistake that resulted in a criminal charge? If so, then you may qualify for deferred prosecution and have the opportunity to avoid criminal penalties. Prosecutors are often encouraged to offer deferred prosecution when appropriate in order to reduce court caseloads and protect the resources needed for trial. However, not every criminal defendant qualifies for deferred prosecution. The prosecution and the court will examine a variety of factors to determine if you are eligible for this type of program. These factors include:
  • Prior criminal history
  • The seriousness of your current and/or prior criminal offenses
  • The amount of marijuana or illegal substance found in your possession
  • Your intention with the marijuana or illegal substance
  • For theft crimes, the value of the stolen item
  • Whether aggravated factors surrounded the charges
If you are looking to participate in deferred prosecution, but have failed to receive an offer, then you should speak with your criminal defense lawyer in Phoenix. He or she can help you assess all your options and request a review of your case.

Should I Take a Deferred Prosecution Agreement?

If you are a first-time criminal offender, then a deferred prosecution program is often a great way to avoid having a criminal conviction on your record. However, there are still things you should consider before taking a deferred prosecution agreement. For example, deferred prosecution programs often take a long time to complete. In many cases, completing a deferred prosecution program takes longer to complete than a traditional plea deal. Additionally, if you fail to uphold your deferred prosecution agreement, then your criminal case could potentially resume. The prosecution may press charges against you and use your failed deferred prosecution agreement as evidence against you.

Ultimately, it is up to you to decide whether to accept a deferred prosecution agreement. However, you should never make this decision alone. A criminal defense attorney near Phoenix, AZ can help you explore your options and reach the appropriate determination. He or she can also provide you with more information about how a deferred prosecution program would work in your specific case.

What Is the Difference Between a Deferred Prosecution and a Plea Bargain?

There are several key differences between a deferred prosecution and a plea bargain in Arizona. First, with a deferred prosecution, the defendant does not plead guilty and agrees to participate in a rehabilitation program instead of facing prosecution. With a plea agreement, the defendant pleads guilty in exchange for a lesser sentence. The judge will then decide to approve or deny this agreement.

Second, if you accept a deferred prosecution agreement, then any statements you make to law enforcement for purposes of deferred sentencing can be used against you if the charges are later prosecuted. With a plea agreement, any incriminating statements you make during plea agreement discussions cannot be used against you if you ultimately decide not to accept the agreement.

Are you struggling with the decision to accept a deferred prosecution or a plea bargain? If so, then you are not alone. Many defendants believe that choosing to be tried by a jury of their peers is the most appealing option. They like having the chance of receiving a “not guilty” verdict. However, this does not always work out in their favor. Trials often have uncertain outcomes. You could potentially receive a harsher sentence than you would get from a deferred prosecution or plea bargain. A criminal defense attorney located in Phoenix, AZ will use his or her legal experience to guide you in the right direction and help you make the best decision possible.

Criminal Defense Attorney for Deferred Prosecution in Phoenix, AZ

Are you looking to improve your chances of qualifying for an available deferred prosecution program? If so, then it is absolutely essential that you retain an experienced and professional criminal defense attorney right away.

At the Law Office of Aaron M. Black, PLLC, our team knows how to negotiate with the prosecution to secure you the best deal possible. We have decades of experience working within the Arizona legal system and understand what arguments to make to secure a deferred prosecution agreement. We also have experience working with the prosecution and the court to determine which deferred prosecution program you can attend.

To schedule a free consultation, contact criminal defense lawyer Aaron Black today at 480-729-1683 or send him a message online. He will tell you more about his qualifications as an attorney and answer all your criminal defense questions. Call today to ensure you understand all the potential consequences of your criminal case.

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