FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – The Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney’s Office is now offering older criminal offenders opportunities for a second chance that are usually reserved for younger residents.

For years, minors have been able to clear their criminal records of various offenses by participating in a program known as the Deferred Prosecution Program (DPP). Now older residents, who are also first-time offenders, have similar chances through an expansion of the office’s Deferred Prosecution Initiative (DPI) program.

The DPI program is now open to first-time offenders 25 and older who are willing to get sober.

“One of the goals of the criminal justice system is rehabilitation,” Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney Sharen Wilson said. “Sobriety is the beginning of that rehabilitation.”

Interested individuals must apply for the six-month program within 90 days of their case being filed – and be approved to participate. Those accepted will attend orientation, sign waivers, provide three drug hair follicle tests, pay a $300 program fee and more.

No monthly check-ins are required, because the program is not supervised. Some participants may be required to take an online drug and alcohol class.

“We want to resolve these lower level drug cases so we can focus our resources on violent crimes with victims that are increasing in this time of COVID,” Wilson said.

Out of state residents, such as those cited for airport drug cases, are also allowed to participate in the program.

Every participant who passes the the DPI program will have their case dismissed and will be eligible to get the offense erased from their records.

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