Decades ago, former Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney, Tim Curry established a program that would help young people who were in trouble for the first time rehabilitate themselves without the stigma of a criminal conviction. The program he established is call the Deferred Prosecution Program, or DPP. It is one of the oldest diversion programs in the state and to this day still allows young people the chance to have their criminal cases dismissed and the arrest expunged.
DPP is a limited supervision probation program for those between the ages of 17 and 24 at the time of the offense, and who have not previously been convicted of an offense. It includes strict guidelines, screenings, a background investigation, an interview with a prosecutor, letters of recommendations, and drug tests. However, upon successful completion of the program, you are entitled to an immediate expunction of your arrest.
The length of the program is either four months or eight months, depending on the level of offense. Not all offenses are eligible, but it does include many possession of marijuana offenses, possession of controlled substance offenses, as well as failure to ID, criminal trespass, criminal mischief, and some theft offenses.
There are disqualifications that will prevent someone from getting into the DPP program. But just because someone is disqualified from the program does not mean they always end up with a conviction. You still have constitutional rights and should fight the charges.
Upon successful completion of the DPP program, the accused is entitled to an immediate expunction. This is highly recommended. An expunction clears your arrest record and prevents the arrest from haunting you in the future.
As a criminal lawyer, many of my clients are young and have never been in trouble before. The DPP program can be a huge blessing for these clients. However, it is not automatic, and no one is guaranteed acceptance into DPP. You want to meet with an attorney as soon as possible after an arrest, so that you and your attorney can properly prepare for the best chance of admittance into the DPP program, assuming that is the appropriate remedy. The DPP program has specific requirements and strict timelines that must be met. We have successfully helped clients navigate the DPP program and secured an expunction of their criminal records upon completion of the program.
If you or a loved one has been arrested and think you may be eligible for the DPP program, please call my office to discuss your case. I have practiced criminal defense in Tarrant County for the last 20 years and have extensive knowledge of the DPP program. Before my criminal defense practice opened in 2000, I spent four years as an Assistant District Attorney in Tarrant County. I will work hard to protect your future – you want to avoid a criminal record because it can severely affect future job applications, school admission, and licensure in many trades.