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Diversion Programs

Since 2011, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia (USAO) has offered a variety of diversion programs aimed at maximizing public safety, reducing recidivism, and enhancing a fair and efficient criminal justice system.  Each case is subject to individualized review for appropriate disposition determinations, taking into account the history of the defendant, the wishes of the complainant and community, and the severity of the offense.  

Generally, a defendant may be eligible for diversion program if they have not been convicted of or served probation, parole, or supervised release for any firearms- related offense, any sex offense (with the exception of solicitation of prostitution), child abuse, or violent felony offense within the past ten years.  Certain serious arrests and convictions will disqualify a defendant for diversion regardless of the age of the criminal conduct (e.g., homicide and rape convictions).  Additionally, the defendant cannot be on probation, parole, or supervised release for a “dangerous crime,” as defined by D.C. Code § 23-1331 or be held without bond.  A defendant must be and remain in compliance with their court-ordered release conditions prior to and for the duration of the diversion agreement.  

Stet Agreements

Defendants may be eligible for stet agreements in cases involving unlawful entry, theft, destruction of property, and certain drug-possession offenses or cases in which there is no or minimal injury and the victim is amenable to disposition with an agreement that the defendant stay away from the victim for the length of the agreement.  A defendant’s criminal history is also a factor in assessing stet eligibility.  Stet-eligible individuals enter into an agreement to stay away from a location or person designated by the USAO for six months and to comply with other conditions, such as a curfew, stay away order, and/or restitution to the victim.  At the successful conclusion of the agreement, the charges will be dismissed.

Community Service and Education Based Programs

Community Service and Education based programs are offered to defendants with minimal or no criminal history.  Defendants coordinate service placements with the Community Service Office at the D.C. Superior Court. 

Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA):

Four-month program in which an individual must perform 32 hours of community service and comply with other conditions, such as a curfew, stay away order, and/or restitution to the victim.  If the individual satisfies the DPA requirements, the charges will be dismissed.

Deferred Sentencing Agreement (DSA):

Six-month program in which an individual must plead guilty and perform 48 hours of community service and comply with other conditions, such as a curfew, stay away order, and/or restitution to the victim.  DSAs in domestic violence misdemeanor (DVM) cases typically last nine months. Generally, a defendant is NOT eligible for deferred sentencing where: the defendant has any prior felony conviction for a crime of violence or a felony gun conviction where the period of supervision or probation ended less than 10 years ago; the defendant has any prior misdemeanor domestic violence conviction for assaultive or destructive behavior where the incarceration or period of probation ended less than 5 years ago; the defendant has had the benefit of a prior deferred sentencing agreement in a domestic case in the last 5 years; there is a significant history of violence against the victim or other person, including arrests that did not result in a conviction; the defendant used or threatened the use of a firearm in the current case; the defendant committed the offense in the current case while on pre-trial release, probation or supervised release in another criminal case, or while subject to a TPO or CPO (if the current case involves offenses in addition to TPO or CPO violation); the defendant inflicted serious injuries upon the victim; or the charged offense involves any type of sexual abuse or child physical abuse.  DSAs in DVM cases typically include some or all of the following conditions: participation in the Domestic Violence Intervention Program or Anger Management course (as appropriate); participation in substance abuse and/or mental health treatment; community service; a stay-away/no-contact order or an order not to harass, assault, threaten, or stalk the victim; restitution; continued payment of child support; and any other conditions that may be appropriate. If the defendant satisfies the DSA requirements, the defendant will be allowed to withdraw their guilty plea and the charges will be dismissed. Restorative Justice (RJ) is also available for DVM cases and follows similar criteria to the above.

Intervention Programs

Mental Health Community Court (MHCC)

The DC Superior Court Mental Health Community Court (MHCC) is a voluntary treatment court for people who have been diagnosed with serious and persistent mental illness, who are charged with certain misdemeanor or low-level felony offenses, and who otherwise qualify for the MHCC program.  Defendants who are screened eligible by the Pretrial Services Agency’s Specialized Supervision Unit may enter into a MHCC-specific DPA or DSA requiring, among other conditions, that the defendant participate in mental health treatment and, if necessary, drug testing and treatment.  Defendants with pending domestic violence misdemeanor (DVM) cases may be eligible for MHCC, but must be willing to enter a MHCC-DSA as MHCC-DPAs are not offered in DVM cases.  Defendants must be competent and not incarcerated.  MHCC cases are handled by a designated senior Assistant United States Attorney.  For more information about MHCC, please see the D.C. Superior Court’s website:

Superior Court Drug Intervention Program (Drug Court)

Defendants who have a verified substance abuse or dependency problem can have their cases heard in Drug Court, a special court designed to offer a comprehensive approach to address addiction and dependency.  Defendants screened as eligible enter into a Drug Court Contract, which requires the defendant to participate in drug testing, counseling, and treatment at the direction of the Pretrial Services Agency.  Drug Court cases are handled by a designated senior Assistant United States Attorney.  For more information regarding Drug Court go to or call (202) 220-5505.



Updated December 1, 2023