Don’t let one mistake put your future at risk!
The Tarrant County Deferred Prosecution Program (DPP) is a program designed to give a young person in trouble for the first time a second chance by granting a dismissal after successful completion of the program. Another benefit of successful completion of the DPP program is immediate eligibility for an Expunction (erasing the criminal record). DPP is a diversion program designed to take a youthful first offender out of the normal criminal justice court process.
Program eligibility: To be eligible for the program, a person must be 17-24 years of age at the time of the offense, no prior contact with the criminal justice system as a juvenile or adult, and who are “self-correctors”. The program is not set up to accept persons with mental health or drug/alcohol abuse issues. DPP is a one-time opportunity and cannot be completed again for any future eligible offenses. Also, there cannot be multiple eligible offenses occurring on different dates. Other disqualifications include – gang related offense, driving while intoxicated offenses, offenses involving weapons (gun, knife, etc.) and offenses that resulted in injury to a person or placing a person in danger of injury.
Program Tracks: The program consists of two tracks. Track A covers a general array of approved offenses and Track B covers marijuana and some controlled substance offenses. The program fee for Track A is $125 and the program fee for Track B is $225.
Length of Program: A term of informal supervision of four (4) months for misdemeanor offenses and eight (8) months for felony offenses.
Step 1 – DPP Application: The application process is very strict. A person must file the DPP application within 60 days of the filing of his or her case. If the completed application is not received within 90 days of the filing of the case, the application will not be considered, no exceptions. So, it is best to get the application in as early as possible in case there are issues with the application that need to be addressed. A completed application includes: 1) completion of the DPP Questionnaire; 2) two signed letters of recommendation written by an adult stating they have known the applicant for at least three years, stating that they are not a relative or co-defendant, and stating that they are away of the nature of the pending criminal charge; 3) completed Personal Statement stating why the applicant is a good fit for the program; 4) High School Diploma, College Transcript, or GED certificate (or proof of current enrollment/transcript if still in high school); 5) Negative Drug Test (time and place given to applicant upon submission of application); 6) Application fee of $25 (the remainder of fee is due at Orientation). Note: The DPP application must be notarized.
Step 2 – Meet with your attorney: The applicant must sign and submit certain waivers – waiver of right to counsel, waiver of right to a speedy trial, wavier of right of an indictment (if a felony charge), waiver of right to confront and cross-examine witnesses, waiver of right to remain silent, and a judicial confession, admission, and stipulation of evidence. The attorney will review the completed DPP application and discuss the waivers with the applicant. Both the applicant and the attorney must sign the waiver form.
Step 3 – DPP Orientation: The applicant must attend the DPP Orientation before being accepted into the DPP program. The applicant must bring a parent or adult “accountability partner” to the Orientation. The remainder of the program fee must be paid at the Orientation ($100 or $200 depending on whether applicant is on Track A or Track B). The waiver form with the applicant and attorney signatures must be submitted at the Orientation.
Step 4 – Acceptance into DPP Program: Upon acceptance into the program, the applicant will receive program conditions. The conditions include 1) submission of monthly reports by mail, e-mail or in person by monthly deadline date; 2) Provide verification of employment with each report or if seeking employment, submit verification of at least 5 places applications for employment were submitted; 3) Provide verification of school attendance with each monthly report – copy of current grades, current class schedule with grades, or copy of official or unofficial school transcript; and 4) Possible random drug test request with a monthly report.
Expunction Eligibility: Upon successful completion of the DPP program, a person is eligible for an immediate expunction of their criminal record. An expunction is not included in the cost of the DPP program and an attorney is recommended to file the proper paperwork for an expunction and additional court costs/filing fees are required. Following up with an expunction after dismissal of a DPP case is essential. The benefit of an immediate expunction gives a young person a chance to clear their criminal records so that they may proceed with a clean slate in life. After an expunction, a person can legally say they were never arrested or charged with an offense.