Deferred Prosecution Agreements are different than both deferred adjudications, and deferred dispositions. The latter two are covered by statute. Deferred Prosecution, however, is not.

Deferred Prosecutions are basically informal agreements between the defense lawyer, the defendant, and the prosecutor to dismiss a case up front, that is, in advance of the accused agreeing to some concessions. I call it “informal”, not to minimize the seriousness of the agreement, but to point out that it’s not statutory, and the paperwork is not filed with the Clerk.

Because it is not available by statute, not all County prosecutors even enter into them. Fortunately, those accused of Class A and Class B misdemeanor crimes in Austin are potentially eligible, because the Travis County County Attorney’s Office will consider them in some cases.

In many ways, Deferred Prosecutions on Class A and B misdemeanors are similar to deferred dispositions on Class C misdemeanors. There is no formal probation where the defendant reports monthly – instead, he is simply on “his own probation”. The terms negotiated in these cases are usually stiffer than those on a Class C traffic ticket level offense.

Successfully completed Deferred Prosecutions are eligible for complete expunctions, unlike their cousins Deferred Adjudication. This is because the element of formal reporting probation in Deferred Adjudication makes expunction not possible. Best case there is for a Motion for Non Disclosure. (I know, it gets confusing, doesn’t it?)

The flip side of Deferred Prosecution agreements however, is that if the defendant does not do what he is supposed to (could be community service, a class, or simply staying out of trouble), the County Attorney’s Office will refile the initial charges.

As for felonies, the Travis County District Attorney’s Office only considers these agreements in the rarest of cases.

[See also, the difference between deferred disposition and deferred adjudication in Texas.]

  • Love your blog. But isn’t “deferred prosecution” the same thing as “pretrial diversion” or, technically, a “pretrial intervention program” under Article 102.012 of the Code of Criminal Procedure? I was just curious since you said it “was not available by statute.”

    Keep up the good work.

  • jeremy

    hey. i wos wondering if i signed for deffered pros. can i get an extension.

  • Chris

    Hello. I have the same question as Jeremy – is it possible to get an extension for a deferred prosecution agreement? I signed a one-year agreement but have not been able to meet all of the terms (I live in a different state now, and things have been complicated). I will be able to meet the terms, but only after 16 moths.

    Can you please send me a quick response as to whether or not this is ever done, etc.? My situation is pretty desperate and you could really help calm my nerves! The last thing I want is for charges to be re-filed.

    Thank you in advance for any information you might provide.


  • Renita

    Can you leave the State of Texas on “deferred prosecution”?