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Diversion Agreements in DC Gun Cases

A diversion agreement is an agreement between the prosecution and the person charged with a gun offense in a criminal case. The person agrees to perform certain acts and stay out of trouble for some length of time to remain arrest-free.

If at the end of the designated period, the government agrees that the person successfully completed the terms of the agreement, the person can walk away from the case. The case can be closed or dismissed without a conviction.

To best understand how diversion agreements may be relevant in your DC gun case, it is important to consult with an attorney as soon as possible. An experienced gun attorney in DC can use the elements of your case to determine the relevance or necessity of a diversion agreement.

Common Conditions

Most commonly, the conditions of a diversion agreement in a DC gun case include community service in the District of Columbia. That is the most common condition beyond staying out of trouble and not being arrested. At certain times, there might be other conditions placed or there might be fines or fees built in.

A person who is offered a diversion agreement can expect to be required to perform a specific number of hours of community service.

Before 2015, diversion agreements were not available in a firearms case. These cases are tried by federal prosecutors and do not offer diversion agreements on firearms cases that they prosecute. However, that policy changed so that a deferred sentencing agreement and possibly a deferred prosecution agreement are available in some firearms cases.

Diversion agreements in DC gun cases are determined on a case-by-case basis and are specific to the case. The facts about what took place in the offense and about the person charged are carefully reviewed and scrutinized. In some instances, the Office of the Attorney General extends a diversion agreement.

Types of Agreements

There are two main types of diversion agreements for a misdemeanor firearms case in DC. Such agreements can be best explained by an experienced gun attorney.

Deferred Sentencing Agreement

The first type of diversion agreement is a deferred sentencing agreement where the person pleads guilty to knowingly possessing an unregistered firearm, unregistered ammunition, or other specific charge in the District of Columbia.

Rather than the person being convicted, the court defers sentencing until the end of the diversion period and the person completes the conditions of the agreement. When the person returns to court at the end of the diversion period, they can withdraw their guilty plea and the government dismisses the case with no conviction.

Deferred Prosecution Agreement

A deferred prosecution agreement is preferable because the person charged with a gun offense does not have to plead guilty. They only acknowledge that there is probable cause for the case to be filed against them.

The conditions of the deferred prosecution agreement in DC gun cases are similar to a deferred sentencing agreement. At the end of the diversion period, if the government is satisfied that all conditions have been met, the case is dismissed. There is no guilty plea to withdraw.

End Result

The end result in both DC gun diversion agreements is the same if it is successful. If the person is not successful in completing the diversion requirements in a deferred sentencing agreement, the government opposes the withdrawal of the guilty plea at the end of that period. Instead, the government moves forward with sentencing. The person is convicted and sentenced by the court for that conviction.

When the person does not successfully complete all the conditions in a deferred prosecution agreement, the government cannot proceed to sentencing. Rather, the case could be set for trial or some other agreement can be reached to dispose of a case. There is not an automatic conviction because the person did not plead guilty.

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