In DC, there are various types of diversion programs that provide criminal defendants with opportunities to have their charges dismissed if the program requirements are fulfilled.
The Pretrial Services Agency for the District of Columbia (PSA) performs initial screening of a defendant’s eligibility for placement in a particular diversion program. Final approval is determined by the U.S. Attorney’s Office or D.C. Office of the Attorney General.
There are two types of agreements that enable diversion:
- Deferred Prosecution Agreement—A voluntary agreement between the prosecutor and the defendant whereby the government offers to dismiss charges upon the defendant’s satisfactory fulfillment of certain requirements (e.g., performing a certain number of community service hours).
- Deferred Sentencing Agreement—A voluntary agreement between the prosecutor and the defendant whereby the defendant enters a guilty plea and sentencing is set for a later date. The defendant must complete certain requirements set out in the agreement (e.g., performing a certain number of community service hours). If the defendant is successful in completing all requirements, the guilty plea is withdrawn and the prosecution dismisses the case; otherwise, the matter proceeds to sentencing.
Diversion Programs: An Overview (National Criminal Justice Reference Service)
Juvenile Diversion Guidebook (Published Mar 1, 2011, Models for Change Juvenile Diversion Workgroup)
Juvenile Diversion Certificate Program (Center for Juvenile Justice Reform, Georgetown University)
DC diversion programs featured in the media:
- Youth Program Points To Ways D.C. Can Be ‘Far More Creative’ Against Crime (WAMU, Feb. 25, 2016)