The Justice Department announced a $1.2 billion settlement with Toyota Wednesday, the culmination of a lengthy criminal probe into the firm’s handling of claims that some of their cars accelerated despite drivers’ attempts to stop them.

Officials said the agreement is the largest penalty of its kind ever imposed on an auto company. It includes a deferred prosecution agreement for the filing of a single charge of wire fraud. If Toyota hews to the terms, the government will dismiss the charge in three years. …

“Toyota confronted a public safety emergency as if it were simply a public relations problem,” Mr. Holder said. “Put simply, Toyota’s conduct was shameful.”