Deferred Prosecution for First Offenders in North Carolina

Many counties in North Carolina offer deferred prosecution programs for first time offenders.  In order to be a first offender you cannot have any other criminal convictions on your record and you cannot have participated in a first offenders program in the past.  Provided you complete all requirements of the program, including community service, paying any fees to the Program, and paying restitution to the victim, the charges against you will be dismissed at the end of the probationary term.

Have you been charged with a misdemeanor or felony as a first offender in North Carolina?  Do you need a Raleigh Criminal Defense Attorney to help you navigate the system?  Depending upon the county you’re in, you may be eligible to participate in a Deferred Prosecution Program (DPP).  North Carolina’s General Assembly has approved of Deferred Prosecution for first offenders who have been charged with Class H and I felonies and misdemeanors (shoplifting, larceny etc.).  Deferred Prosecution is designed to admit first offenders who – if convicted – would likely receive only a probationary sentence anyway.  And if admitted, the first offender is basically on probation, with probation-like punishment such as performing community service, being under the supervision of a probation officer, and paying deferred prosecution fees.  If completed successfully, the charges against the first offender will be dismissed on their criminal record.  Then the first offender will be able to have the record of the charges expunged.

There are benefits for the alleged victim as well.  For example, the victim does not have to wait years to receive restitution, and instead can receive it immediately from the first offender.  The victim can know that the first offender has accepted responsibility for the crime.  Also, the victim does not have to attend many/any court appearances.

The most important aspects of Deferred Prosecution that the first offender must be aware of are the required written admission of guilt and signing the Punishment Contract, which are often combined into one piece of paper.  The first offender must admit guilt to the charges in writing.  This is a significant requirement because if the first offender does not complete the probationary requirements successfully, the written admission can be used against the first offender in a traditional prosecution, though the first offender may still plead not guilty.  Additionally once someone has entered the first offenders program they are no longer eligible for the program if later charged with another crime.

The Punishment Contract explains everything the first offender must complete during the probationary term.  The typical requirements are paying a Deferred Prosecution Program fee, completing community service hours, and not committing any new crimes during the probationary period.  The typical fee is $250.  In Wake County, the usual number of community service hours is 75.  If the first offender violates any provisions of the Punishment Contract, prosecution is reinstated and the written admission can be used against the Defendant.  A Wake County criminal defense attorney with our law office can help explain the process during a free initial consultation about your case.

The last aspect of Deferred Prosecution worth knowing is that it is a voluntary program implemented by the local District Attorney’s office.  As a voluntary program, no first offender is entitled to participate in Deferred Prosecution.  First offenders are admitted at the discretion of the District Attorney’s office.  Having an attorney to represent you and to argue your case for admission to Deferred Prosecution is a good idea.

If you would like advice as to whether you are eligible to participate in Deferred Prosecution as a first offender, call The Law Offices of Wiley Nickel, PLLC at (919) 585-1486 or submit an online email through this website. 


Wiley Nickel

Wiley Nickel lives and works in Cary, North Carolina. In 1998, he graduated from Tulane University with a major in Political Science and a minor in History. After college Wiley went to work for Al Gore and travelled with the Vice President as part of his national advance staff. Following the Gore campaign he earned his law degree from the Pepperdine University School of Law in 2005. While in law school Wiley worked as a law clerk in the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office where he gained valuable criminal trial experience before taking and passing the California bar exam. His first job out of law school was for the Merced County District Attorney’s Office where he worked as a Deputy District Attorney with a focus on prosecuting DWI offenders. Wiley later joined the Law Offices of Joseph Uremovic where he focused on civil litigation and family law. When the opportunity came to join the Obama campaign in 2008 Wiley jumped at the chance. He spent three years travelling with President Obama as a member of his national advance team. In 2011 Wiley left his work for the White House to return to the practice of law. Wiley devotes the majority of his practice to the areas of criminal law, family law, traffic tickets and DMV issues. The Law Offices of Wiley Nickel was started with the goal of providing the best representation possible for all of his clients. Experienced, Compassionate, Aggressive Criminal Defense While defense attorney Wiley Nickel works as the primary attorney for all of his cases, he does have an associate attorney, a team of investigators, forensic consultants, and support staff to call on to help achieve the best possible result in every case. He limits his case load so that he can focus on providing the best possible legal defense to all of his clients. Every case is a top priority and the goal is to have your case dismissed with a focus on being able to expunge your charges at the end of the process. When he is not working, Wiley is an avid family man, distance runner and golfer. He loves North Carolina college sports and is hoping this is the year for Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers. Wiley is licensed to practice law in North Carolina and California.