A Fast-Track plea agreement is a plea where a defendant agrees to plead early in the proceedings in excgange for the government recommending a lower sentence. USSG 5K3.1. The US Attorney General circulates a memorandum regarding the DOJ’s criteria for establishing fast-track programs. Fast-track programs vary widely between federal districts and depending on the crime. Some policies authorize the government to offer a reduction in offense levels or a plea to a less serious crime.
For Example a Fast-track policy for illegal reentry cases is as follows:
- 4-level departure for all defendants except those in CHC VI.
- 2-level departure for those in CHC VI.
- Defendant may ask for downward departures, but not variances under 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a).
- Defendant must waive appeal at high end of government’s recommended guideline range (meaning that defendant cannot appeal if he disagrees with the application of an aggravating specific offense characteristic).
It is important to hire an attorney familiar with the fast track offers because a 4 level departure may mean months if not years in prison.
Under this agreement the defendant agrees to plead guilty, the court will not enter a judgment of guilt. Instead, the court will state a number of conditions that the defendant must meet. If the defendant complies with the conditions, the charges are dismissed and the defendant will not have a record of conviction. If the conditions are violated, the court will enter a judgment (without trial because you have already plead guilty) and sentence the defendant.
The deferred prosecution is an agreement where the government suspends proceedings for a set period of time in exchange for the defendant agreeing to comply with certain conditions during a set period of time. If the defendant complies, the government will dismiss the charges. These types of agreement are subject to the strictures of the plea agreement. The conditions may include counseling and community service, drug programs, drug testing, maintaining full time employment, etc. If the defendant does not comply, the government will start the prosecution. These are agreement are much better than deferred judgment because the defendant never enters a guilty plea. And if he/she complies with everything, then there will be no record of the federal guilty plea/sentence.
Under this agreement the government agrees not to file any charges against the defendant if he/she meets certain conditions. These are not governed under the plea agreement guidelines and laws, rather a contract law applies.
It is crucial for an attorney you hire to be familiar with different types of agreements. Certain agreements allow an individual to avoid prison, jail, or a record of conviction. If you have been charged with a federal crime in San Diego federal court, contact LAWSTACHE™ LAW FIRM. Attorney Anton Vialtsin has experience protecting those accused of federal and California crimes. Our office is conveniently located in downtown San Diego. You can reach our office by calling (619) 357-6677 or by sending an e-mail.
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