You have options: just got charged with a crime in Wisconsin.
Deferred Prosecution Agreement
If you end up facing criminal charges you may wonder what your possible outcomes in the case are. Most people are aware that in criminal cases you have the right to a jury trial and you also have the right to admit guilt and be sentenced by the Judge. Sometimes there is also a third option, a deferred prosecution agreement. These deferred agreements include a guilty plea the charge you are facing, except instead of the Judge entering a conviction and sentencing you on the case, the case is held open for a period of time. These agreements allow you to demonstrate to the court that you are willing to bet on yourself and if you are successful, that bet can pay off in a very big way.
What is a deferred agreement?
A deferred agreement is an agreement between you and the District Attorney facilitated by your lawyer. It insures a lesser penalty at the completion of the agreement and it does that through requiring specific terms to be met. Those terms are specific to each and every case; sometimes they include treatment that is deemed necessary based on the particular events alleged [ie. alcohol treatment, parenting classes, anger management]. Other times the agreement may require restitution and/or community service. One thing in common to all deferred agreements is that if you are charged with a new criminal offense the agreement is revoked. The agreement often includes a clause that, if revoked, indicates what the District Attorney will recommend at sentencing to the original charge that you plead guilty to. Every county has different requirements, eligibility, and formats for their deferred agreements and some counties have decided against offering deferred agreements as a matter of practice.
Is a deferred agreement always an option?
If your county has a policy that allows for deferred agreements, there are still some hurdles that typically have to be cleared in order for a deferred agreement to be a possibility. Typically the charge has to be your first criminal offense, there are some exceptions to this hurdle, however, if it is not your first criminal offense you are facing an uphill battle in trying to secure a deferred agreement. The type of charge is also another major hurdle, if your case is a high level felony or if it alleges violence then District Attorneys tend to be less receptive in regards to negotiating a deferred agreement.
What is the outcome after the agreement is fulfilled?
If you are able to successfully complete your deferred agreement one of two outcomes is achieved. Either the case is dismissed outright or you are convicted of a lesser charge. The terms of what will happen, upon successful completion of your agreement, are listed in the agreement itself. If your case is dismissed then you will have avoided a criminal conviction on your record. If instead the agreement includes a conviction at the completion of the agreement it may be a situation where your case goes from a felony to a misdemeanor or to a municipal violation [a ticket] instead.