In Maine, defendants can avoid going to trial in many criminal cases by entering into a filing agreement or deferred disposition. A filing agreement allows the charge(s) to be dismissed after a set period of time, usually one year, as long as the defendant does not violate any other laws or provisions of the filing agreement. Deferred disposition agreements are similar except that the defendant is required to plead guilty.
While filing agreements and deferred dispositions may be good options for some cases, it’s important to remember that these agreements require you to waive your right to a trial. In addition, when the deferred period ends and the charge is dismissed, it may still be treated as a “conviction,” so we urge clients to carefully consider their options before accepting such agreements.