It is easy to beat yourself up when you have been charged with a DUI. Mistakes in judgment are common and you are not alone. If this is your first DUI offense in Washington, you may be eligible for inclusion in a Washington Deferred Prosecution program. An experienced DUI attorney can help you learn if Deferred Prosecution is a good option for you.
Defining Washington's Deferred Prosecution Program
The Deferred Prosecution program is an option for many who face a DUI conviction. Defendants who have alcohol, drug, or mental health problems and are prime to benefit from a rehabilitation program can ask the court to consider them for the program. If the judge accepts you into the program, you will avoid a conviction of the current DUI offense. As part of the program, you will also be spared jail time or fines. Also, if you did not refuse a breath test at the time of your arrest and if you apply for the Deferred Prosecution within 60 days of your arrest, you will not lose your license to drive a vehicle.
Deferred Prosecution was established to help people with substance abuse problems get the help they need rather than punishment corresponding to the crime. It is an option for second chances, but it comes with a price that can be steep.
To qualify for Deferred Prosecution, applications must meet legal requirements:
- You must have never previously been granted deferred prosecution.
- You must be diagnosed with alcohol and/or drug dependency or with mental health issues.
- You must enroll in a recommended drug, alcohol, or mental health treatment program and comply with all treatment recommendations.
- You must be able to sustain the cost of the treatment program and arrange those payments.
When you successfully complete the program, in three years if you do not violate your Court order, your DUI charge will be dismissed. In addition, you will need to only drive a vehicle outfitted with a functioning interlock breath alcohol device. Violations of an ignition interlock order is a separate crime. The deferred prosecution program is not for everyone because it is very rigorous and requires full adherence. When a participant is found to have violated the rules around the program, the DUI conviction will come back into play. Additional charges may also accompany that charge too.
If you decide against the Deferred Prosecution and you are later convicted, you may still seek a reduction of a portion of your fines and jail sentence. Like approval for deferred prosecution, approval will hinge on your agreement to seek and obtain treatment, something your DUI conviction may require anyway.
Decisions about these options are important matters that you should not decide without expert counsel. Steve Karimi is a former prosecutor with experience bringing DUI offenders to court. He now uses his years of experience helping people with drug and alcohol-related crimes preserve their rights and receive the best results from a difficult situation. Contact Karimi Law Office at 206-621-8777, your Seattle DUI Attorney, today to schedule your consultation.