The 2 protesters who bum-rushed Ryan Lochte during his live season premiere of "Dancing with the Stars" have cut a deal to avoid time behind bars ... but it cost them a fortune.
Sources tell us the judge and the L.A. City Attorney's Office dropped the case after the protesters agreed to pay BBC Worldwide Productions -- which owns 'DWTS' -- and CBS -- where the show was filmed -- $20,000.
Here's the way the law goes ... there's something called a "civil compromise." It means if someone is charged with certain crimes, they can have the charges dismissed if they work out a deal with the victims.
The protesters faced 6 months in jail after being charged with leaving a spectator area and entering upon a stage as well as interfering with a performance -- both misdemeanors.
As we first reported, the protesters went to 'DWTS' because they felt Ryan's bad behavior in Brazil was the reason one of their family members got busted for something unrelated ... out of revenge for the U.S.