Interviewer: What is a deferred prosecution?
Mike: Deferred prosecution is a type of diversion. You see deferred prosecution in cases that involve possession of illegal drugs such as marijuana, methamphetamine, or cocaine. In Maricopa County, deferred prosecution relates to people charged with possession of illegal drugs and hopefully getting a plea offer that involves task. If the case against their client is strong, a good defense attorney tries to get task for their client.
When you get task, the prosecution or the state essentially defers prosecution. That means they put criminal charges on hold. While the person is starting task, and as long as the person successfully completes task, the case gets dismissed. It never goes on your criminal record.
The reason they freeze it, or defer prosecution, is they want the ability to bring it back. If a person fails to complete task or starts missing drug tests, they’re now able to unfreeze and get out of the deferred prosecution. They reinstate prosecution and bring criminal charges back up against a person.
With deferred prosecution, it is important to understand that when a person decides to enroll in the task program because of an illegal drug charge, they’re agreeing to wave their right to contest probable cause and go to trial in the future.
If a person decides to do task and doesn’t successfully complete it, they no longer have a right to a preliminary hearing when the state reinstates prosecution. The state made them agree to probable cause ahead of time. They will go the next level in the criminal justice system and have a trial date set.