Interviewer : So can you explain what a deferred prosecution is and how it works?
Mike: Deferred prosecution is basically a type of diversion. Where you see deferred prosecution is in cases that involve the possession of illegal drugs. For example, possession of marijuana, possession of methamphetamine, possession of cocaine. All of these are illegal drugs. Where you really see deferred prosecution in Maricopa County is how it relates to people who are charged with possession of those illegal drugs and them hopefully getting a plea offer that involves task. If a person is fortunate enough to get task, and that’s what any good defense attorney is trying to get for their clients, assuming that the case against their client is strong. Then when you get task, what happens is the prosecution or the state, what they do is, they essentially defer prosecution. What that means is they essentially put the criminal charges on hold. So they’ll suspend the prosecution, is what they call it, or defer it, and then that means it’s frozen. Then while the person is starting task, and as long as the person successfully completes task, then the case gets dismissed and it never goes on your criminal record. The reason why they freeze it, or defer prosecution, is they want the ability to bring it back, because if a person fails to complete task or they start missing drug tests or they bomb of task, then now they’re able to unfreeze or get out of the deferred prosecution, and then they will reinstate prosecution and they will bring those criminal charges back up against a person.
The one thing that is important about deferred prosecution to understand is, when a person decides to enroll in the task program because of an illegal drug charge, they need to know that they’re agreeing to wave their right to contest probable cause to go to trial in the future. So that if a person decides to do task, they need to know that if they don’t successfully complete it, that when the state reinstates prosecution, that they no longer have a right to a preliminary hearing because the state has already made them agree to probable cause ahead of time. Which means they will go the next level in the criminal justice system, and they will have a trial date set.