Should I consider a DUI Deferred Prosecution in Washington State?
A Seattle DUI or a Washington State DUI for that matter is a very serious offense. When a person is charged with this particular crime they face a mandatory amount of jail, a mandatory fine, a mandatory license suspension, a mandatory ignition interlock requirement, mandatory treatment, and period of probation. These penalties vary depending on the number a prior DUI’s a person has had and what the breath or blood alcohol level was.
What is a DUI Deferred Prosecution?
Despite the mandatory DUI penalties a person faces when charged with a Washington State DUI, they can choose to enter into what’s called a deferred prosecution. This allows the accused to defer and potentially avoid all the mandatory jail, fines, and license suspension if they agree to certain terms that are outlined in RCW 10.05. If the accused is successful then the DUI charge potentially could be dismissed. A person can do a deferred prosecution once in their lifetime for a DUI charge. When considering this option it is very important to speak with a DUI lawyer who is experienced in this area of law.
Now, this may seem like a great idea, but a deferred prosecution is a very complex resolution with very strict guidelines. Essentially in order to qualify for a Deferred Prosecution on your Seattle DUI or Washington State DUI, the first thing you need to do is a complete an alcohol and drug evaluation. The results of this evaluation must find that you suffer from alcohol or drug dependence and that you will enter and complete a 2-year alcohol/drug treatment program. The cost of this type of programs depends on the individual treatment center where the program will be, and whether you have insurance that might cover some of this. But plan on spending around $3000 – $6000 on this 2-year treatment plan.
In addition to the 2-year treatment plan, you will enter into a contract with the Court where your Seattle DUI or Washington State DUI is in. You will have to agree to a contract between you and the Court that will last 5 years. During those 5 years if you successfully start and complete the 2-year treatment plan, abstain from alcohol and drugs, stay out of trouble, agree to be monitored by probation, and agree to have a functioning ignition interlock device in your vehicle the Court will dismiss the Seattle DUI or Washington State DUI charge at the end of the 5 years.
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Seattle Criminal Defense Attorney
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What happens if the DUI Deferred Prosecution gets revoked?
If you fail to live up to your end of the bargain then a Court can revoke this agreement. One of the drawbacks to this is when you enter into the Deferred Prosecution you agree that there are enough facts in the police report to find you guilty, and you waive your right to have a jury trial. At this stage, it’s important to speak with a Lawyer who can review all the evidence that would be used against you to determine whether there are any weaknesses in the Prosecution’s case. So if at any time during these 5 years it can be shown by a preponderance of evidence that you’re in violation of any of the agreed terms of the Deferred Prosecution the Judge can revoke your deferred and impose all the mandatory penalties allowed by law.
Why you want to consult a DUI lawyer before a DUI deferred prosecution.
Many DUI Attorney’s tell people that a deferred prosecution is a good idea because they can avoid all the jail and fines, and ultimately get the thing dismissed. However, my firm is very cautious about representing people who might want to consider this option. In fact as of writing this, of the last 100 DUI’s we have defended only 4 people have entered deferred prosecutions. That is only 4%. Why? Because there are a lot of things at stake and there are certain people who might not make the best candidate for this option. Typically we don’t recommend this option for anybody who is facing a first offense DUI, or a younger person who is not well established in their life. A DUI Deferred Prosecution is a complete lifestyle change. Not only must the accused completely abstain from alcohol and/or drugs for 5 years, but they need to attend alcohol classes and treatment that could amount to 15-20 hours a week, in addition to all the other conditions and restrictions discussed above.
If you’re considering this option or would like more information on entering a deferred prosecution on your Seattle DUI or Washington State DUI, please contact my office immediately. An experience Seattle DUI Lawyer will be able to answer all of your questions and inform you of whether this might be a good option for you.