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By Benson Varghese

Published on: September 4th, 2020 at 9:46 AM
Last Updated: September 22nd, 2020 at 12:26 PM

Are you under age 24? Is this your first – and hopefully last – arrest? Are you interested in avoiding a conviction and removing the arrest from your record? If so, the Tarrant County Deferred Prosecution Program could be the opportunity you are looking for.

What is the Tarrant County Deferred Prosecution Program?

The Deferred Prosecution Program, or DPP, was created by the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office decades ago to give young, first-time offenders a chance at rehabilitation and having their case dismissed, thereby avoiding the stigma and consequences of a criminal conviction.

The DPP process begins by hiring an attorney who will guide you through the application process. Those who are accepted into the program and successfully complete it, will have their pending charges dismissed and are eligible for an immediate expunction. Common offenses that are eligible for the DPP program are possession of marijuana and shoplifting.

As former Tarrant County prosecutors, we’ve been on the other side of the DPP process and vetted and interviewed candidates who applied to the program. Now as defense attorneys, we are extremely successful in getting our clients into DPP. However, the most important factor in the admission process is you and your commitment to rehabilitating yourself and successfully completing the program.

What is the Application Process for the Deferred Prosecution Program in Tarrant County?

Applicants must must be between 17 to 24 at the time of their offense. They must hire an attorney and apply for the program within 60 days of their case being filed. There are no exceptions.

The DPP application is obtained by their attorney. The applicant must then completely fill out the application, provide two letters of recommendation, provide a personal statement, transcripts, and a negative drug test administered by the Community Supervision and Corrections Department (CSCD) of Tarrant County.

Drug testing will be performed by CSCD at the following locations (first come, first served):

  • Central 200 W Belknap St, (basement) MALES only 7:30 am – 5:00 pm
  • Central 300 W Belknap St, (4th floor) FEMALES only 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
  • 3210 Miller Ave (Miller Complex) MALE and FEMALE 7:00 am – 6:00 pm

What Offenses are Eligible for DPP?

DPP consists of two tracks. Track A is the traditional track, which consists of an application, background investigation, orientation interview and an agreement to abide by the conditions of the program. Track B is for offenders with marijuana and substance abuse charges. It consists of an application, background investigation, orientation, agreement to abide by the conditions of the program, as well as drug testing. Here’s a list of eligible offenses for the Track A and Track B programs.

DPP Track A – Eligible Offenses

  • Theft and theft of service, where the value is less than $20,000 – (M to SJF)
  • Unauthorized use of a vehicle – (SJF)
  • Burglary (vehicle, building, coin operated machine – (M to SJF)
  • Credit card and debit card abuse – (F)
  • Removal, destruction or concealment of writing
  • Criminal mischief, where the loss is less than $20,000 – (M to SJF)
  • Criminal trespass – (M)
  • Evading arrest, no vehicle, no injury – (M)
  • Failure to ID – (M)
  • False report to police officer – (M)
  • Forgery – (M)
  • Purchase or furnish alcohol to minor – (M)
  • Sell or make alcohol available to a minor – (M)
  • Failure to stop at accident or Failure to give notice fixed object – (M)
  • Tampering with government record – (M to SJF)
  • Graffiti – pecuniary loss less than $20,000 – (M to SJF)
  • Silent or abusive calls – 911 – (M)
  • Fraudulent use or possession of identifying information, less than five items – (SJF)
  • Trademark counterfeiting, less than $20,000 – (M to SJF)
  • Labeling unauthorized recording – (M to SJF)
  • Possession, manufacture, distribution of instrument to commit retail theft – (M)

DPP Track B – Eligible Offenses

  • Possession of marijuana under 2 ounces – (M)
  • Possession of marijuana 2-4 ounces – (M)
  • Possession of marijuana under 2 ounces, drug-free zone – (M)
  • Possession of marijuana 2-4 ounces, drug-free zone – (SJF)
  • Possession of controlled substance (PG3), under 28 grams – (M)
  • Possession of controlled substance (PG2A), under 2 ounces – (M)
  • Possession of controlled substance (PG2A), under 1 gram – (M)
  • Possession of a dangerous drug – (M)
  • Possession of controlled substance (PG1), under 1 gram – (SJF)
  • Possession of a controlled substance (PG2), under 1 gram, drug free zone – (F3), under limited circumstances

What Would Disqualify Someone from Being DPP Eligible?

The Tarrant County Deferred Prosecution program is not for everyone. You are not eligible for the program if you meet any of the following criteria:

  • Applicant is over 24 years old at the time of the offense
  • Applicant had a previous juvenile adjudication
  • Applicant is a member of mental health priority population
  • Applicant had a positive drug screen with application
  • Applicant has a previous conviction or supervision for Class B offenses and above
  • Applicant had previous participation in DPP
  • Applicants is accused of multiple offenses not occurring out of same criminal episode
  • Applicant committed an offense after first arrest or while on bond
  • Applicant injured or placing someone in danger during course of offense
  • Applicant is accused of a gang-related offense

What is the Orientation for DPP?

The applicant must attend an orientation before being accepted into DPP. The applicant must be accompanied by a parent or an adult accountability partner. The remainder of the program fee must be paid in full at the conclusion of the orientation. The waivers completed and signed by applicant and defense attorney must be presented at the beginning of the orientation.

How Much Does DPP Cost?

  • The program fee for Track A is $125 — of that amount, $25 is due at the time of application and $100 is due on the date of orientation.
  • The program fee for Track B is $225 — of that amount, $25 is due with application and $200 is due on the date of orientation

How Long is the Tarrant County Deferred Prosecution Program?

The term of supervision is four months for misdemeanor offenses and eight months for felony offenses. If restitution is owed, the term of supervision can be extended to eight months to allow full payment.

Upon successful completion of the program, the offender is entitled to an immediate expunction.

What are the Conditions of the Deferred Prosecution Program?

To successfully complete DPP, participants will be required to follow a number of conditions, including:

  • Must not commit a violation of the law of this or any other state.
  • Must not associate with persons who have been, are now, or will commit criminal offenses.
  • Must not consume alcohol or attend nightclubs, taverns, or bars.
  • Must obtain or maintain either full-time employment or full-time school.
    • If the applicant failed to graduate from high school, may be required to obtain GED.
    • If the applicant currently attends school, may be required to have no unexcused absences.
  • Must complete urine analysis, polygraph, blood alcohol, or head follicle testing at the participant’s expense upon request.
  • Must support dependents.
  • Must notify the District Attorney’s office if address, employment, or enrollment in school change.
  • Must pay restitution and appointed attorney’s fees.
  • Must report monthly via mail in report.
  • Must obey parents/roommates house rules.

What Happens if You Violate a Condition?

If you violate a condition of the deferred prosecution program, you could be terminated from the program and the trial court will be notified to set your case and it will be prosecuted like any other case in the criminal justice system.

What are the Benefits of the DPP?

Successful completion of DPP will result in a dismissal of your criminal charge which can be ultimately expunged. The program is also the most inexpensive of Tarrant County’s deferred prosecution programs.

Interested in DPP? Contact Us.

You must have an attorney to get into the Tarrant County Deferred Prosecution Program. All of the senior attorneys at our firm are former Tarrant County Assistant District Attorneys. As former prosecutors, we know exactly what it takes to get through the application and interview process. If you want to find out how you can maximize your chances of getting into the program, call Varghese Summersett PLLC at (817) 203-2220. If you have questions for the program administrators to check on the status of your application or to see if your monthly report has made it to the office, call the Deferred Prosecution Program at (817) 884-1633.