A deferred prosecution agreement is a voluntary alternative to adjudication in which a prosecutor agrees to grant amnesty in exchange for the defendant agreeing to fulfill certain requirements. A case of corporate fraud, for instance, might be settled by means of a deferred-prosecution agreement in which the defendant agrees to pay fines, implement corporate reforms, and fully cooperate with the investigation. Fulfillment of the specified requirements will then result in dismissal of the charges.
Since 1999, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) has set forth guidelines concerning the prosecution of business organizations and corporations. The United States Attorneys' Manual (USAM) of the DOJ allows consideration of non-prosecution or deferred prosecution of corporate criminal offenses because of collateral consequences and discusses plea agreements, deferred prosecution agreements, and non-prosecution agreements in general. Under the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, a past deferred prosecution will not count toward a defendant's criminal history, if there was no finding of guilt by a court and the defendant did not plead guilty or otherwise admit guilt in open court. This is in contrast to a deferred disposition, which typically does involve such a finding or admission.
- ^ The American Heritage Dictionary of Business Terms. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. 2009.
- ^ Corporate Prosecution Principles Resource Page
- ^ United States Attorneys' Manual § 9-28.1000 (2008) Collateral Consequences
- ^ United States Attorneys' Manual § 9-16.325 (2008) Plea Agreements, Deferred Prosecution Agreements, Non-Prosecution Agreements and "Extraordinary Restitution"
- ^ U.S.S.G. § 4A1.2(f) (2012)