What Is Deferred Prosecution In Washington State?
If you have been charged with a DUI or Physical Control While Under the Influence charge, you may be wondering what are your options? What is the best way to proceed in your case? A skilled criminal defense attorney will review your case and discuss your available options to help you make an informed choice. One option in many DUI cases is a program called Deferred Prosecution. Deferred Prosecution can be an attractive option because it is an avenue to get your case fully dismissed. This article will explain what Deferred Prosecution is, how it works, and what would be required of you.
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Washington is one of the strictest states in the country on DUI charges. The consequences of a DUI conviction include mandatory jail time, counseling and a license suspension. Moreover, a conviction cannot be expunged – rather, it is permanently on your criminal record. The penalties of a conviction become substantially more drastic if this is a subsequent DUI. If your case is your second DUI occurring within the previous seven years, you may be facing a minimum of 30 days in jail followed by 60 days of electronic home confinement (house arrest). Likewise, if this is a 3rd DUI within the previous seven years, the penalties significantly jump up to a minimum of 90 days in jail plus 120 days of electronic home confinement.
With penalties this severe, you need an expert attorney who understands Washington state DUI laws and will know exactly what to do in your situation. There can be a lot on the line when facing a DUI charge. A conviction could result in loss of employment, loss of a driver’s license, jail time and more. Do not go at it alone – talk with an experienced lawyer today.
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When I meet with my clients, we discuss the available outcomes in the case. We discuss your options and review the pros and cons of each. Every case is different, and my advice to my clients is hand-tailored to the facts of your case. We review any relevant criminal history, we go over the police report, and we ultimately work with you to meet your goals. Depending on the evidence, we may be able to negotiate for a dismissal or a reduced charge such as Negligent Driving or Reckless Driving. We may prepare your case to go to trial. Or we may explore another option called Deferred Prosecution.
Deferred Prosecution is a great way to help you get your life back on track and ultimately get your case dismissed. My clients usually have a few questions about the program, and this article will help to explain the answers to these questions. How long does Deferred Prosecution last? What does it look like? What would be required of me? Are there any negatives to entering this program?
How Does Deferred Prosecution Work?
Deferred Prosecution is a rehabilitative treatment program where you can get your DUI or Physical Control case dismissed at the end of the program. Deferred Prosecution lasts for 5 years. During this time, you are prohibited from consuming any alcohol or non-prescribed drugs and are also prohibited from committing any new law violations.
In order to be allowed into the program, a judge first must be satisfied that you believe that your case was caused from a disorder of drug or alcohol usage. You must also admit under oath that in your opinion, without treatment you think you could get another DUI in the future. The judge will not allow an individual into the Deferred Prosecution program if they sincerely believe that they are either innocent of the charge, or that they do not suffer from a disorder involving drugs or alcohol.
During the first two years of this 5-year program, you must attend court-ordered treatment from a Washington State approved treatment provider. The treatment consists of three phases. In general, the program does become easier over time. It is most rigorous at the beginning phase. During the first phase of treatment, you would be required to attend a minimum of three group/individual treatment sessions per week, plus attend at least one AA meeting. During the second phase, you must attend treatment at least once per week. And during the third phase, you would be required to attend treatment at least once a month. However, once your treatment is over, you would still be under court order to not consume any alcohol or non-prescribed drugs, and further ordered to commit no new law violations. During your treatment phases, the treatment provider would administer urine-analysis tests as part of the curriculum. The nice thing is that many treatment providers understand that you have a life outside the courts. They are willing to work around your employment schedule, and do offer classes in the evenings.
In addition to treatment, you would be required to attend a one-time class called a Victim’s Panel. Additionally, you would be required to drive a motor vehicle only while in possession valid license for the time periods prescribed by the Washington Department of Licensing. This likely means that the DOL would order you to install an ignition interlock device inside your car, obtain SR-22 insurance, and apply for an Ignition Interlock License.
During the time you are on Deferred Prosecution, you would be required to maintain contact with a probation officer. If you move out of area or if you would like to travel out of area for vacation, that must first be cleared with the probation officer. Additionally, the probation department charges a $100 monthly monitoring fee until you have satisfied your two years of treatment. This adds up to $2,400 in monitoring fees.
Do I Give Up Any Rights By Entering Into Deferred Prosecution?
There are pros and cons of Deferred Prosecution. On the one hand, it has the potential to get your case dismissed. If you are facing a substantial amount of jail time and wish to avoid a conviction, Deferred Prosecution is a great option to help you get your life back on track. On the other hand, you do give up several important rights when you enter Deferred Prosecution. Just because you have been charged with a crime does not make you automatically guilty of that time. You do have a constitutional right to argue your case at trial in front of a jury.
By entering Deferred Prosecution, you give up your right to go to trial. If you were to be revoked from Deferred Prosecution, your “trial” simply consists of the judge reading the police report to determine your guilt. This is an important decision to make – the right to go to trial or forgo a trial in lieu of Deferred Prosecution. It is best to consult with a skilled attorney in making this decision.
Is it possible to get revoked from Deferred Prosecution?
Yes, an individual could get revoked from this program. If revoked, you would likely be found guilty of the charge. When entering the Deferred Prosecution program, you must agree to abide by certain conditions. Failure to comply with these obligations could result in your revocation. For example, if you get a new criminal charge while you are on Deferred Prosecution, you could be revoked. If you fail to successfully complete treatment, you could be revoked. If you do not satisfy your other court obligations, you could be brought before a judge to explain your position, and the judge could revoke you.
Is Deferred Prosecution the Right Program for Me?
If you believe that treatment would help you get your life back on track, Deferred Program may be an excellent option for you. You could get your DUI charge dismissed, saving you from significant jail time and a criminal conviction on your record. The program is rigorous, and it is best to discuss with your attorney about the pros and cons of the program, as well as what other options may be available to you in your case.
Vancouver DUI defense attorney Tom Carley has several years experience in defending against these charges. We understand how to examine cases with an eye for getting you the best result. We offer honest and practical advice for anyone needing a criminal defense attorney. If you have been charged with a DUI or Physical Control While Under the Influence charge, contact our office today for a free consultation. It will not cost you anything to sit down with us to review your matter. (360) 726-3571.