Are you facing a DUI charge in the State of Washington? If you don’t want to go to trial, one option may be to petition the court to enter into a deferred prosecution. A deferred prosecution in Washington comes with its pros and cons. Keep reading to learn what those are below.

Defining Deferred Prosecution in Washington State

Deferred prosecution refers to a legally binding contract between you and the county or city government bringing a DUI case against you. The local government will dismiss your case once you comply with the legal requirements for deferred prosecution in Washington State.

The judge must follow these requirements and they cannot change or lessen any of them. If you fail to meet the requirements, the court will then find you guilty of the original DUI charge.

The Pros of Washington State’s Deferred Prosecution

There are several pros to choosing deferred prosecution:

  • You avoid a costly and lengthy trial
  • You avoid a longer sentence if you’re convicted of the crime
  • The court dismisses your case after 5 years if you meet the requirements and finish your treatment as directed
  • You face no criminal conviction, if you can successfully complete the deferral

This is a big decision to make, so be sure you understand the cons listed below as well.

The Cons of Deferred DUI in Washington State

There are cons to consider when requesting a deferred prosecution. They include:

  • You may only use a deferred prosecution once in your lifetime for a DUI case
  • You waive your right to a trial in which the court may find you innocent if the government charging you fails to present a good case
  • You legally admit to having an alcohol/drug addiction or a mental health disorder
  • Deferred prosecution programs require an intense 5-year commitment
    • Attending mental health or substance abuse treatment for 2 years
      • The first 2 months: 3 hour group meetings, 3 times per week. This is known as intensive outpatient phase one.
      • The following 6 months: 1.5 hour group meetings, 1 time per week. This is the outpatient phase.
      • The remaining 16 months: 1 hour group meetings, 1 time per month. This is known as the follow-up phase.
    • Attending at least 2 Alcoholics or Narcotics Anonymous meetings per week for at least 2 years
  • You may not drink alcohol or take any non-prescribed drugs during the 5-year period and are subject to random drug tests
  • You are responsible for all the costs of probation and treatment programs you enter
  • If you fail to meet the requirements during this 5-year period, the court will find you guilty and charge you for the original DUI along with any other new offenses
  • Successful deferred prosecution is still considered a prior offense if you get another DUI in Washington State
  • You may only drive a vehicle with an ignition interlock device installed for between 1 and 10 years

Finally, you only get one chance at a deferred prosecution. If you do not take it seriously and end up committing the same offense, you will not get the option again in the future.

Hire a Lawyer to Help Navigate Your Deferred Prosecution in Washington State

Now you should have a better understanding of the deferred prosecution process in Washington State. If you believe that you suffer from a mental health disorder or an alcohol or drug addiction, a deferred prosecution may help you get control of your life again.

Hiring an attorney familiar with DUIs to help you navigate this confusing process is a smart idea.

Contact the experienced lawyers at Durflinger Oliver & Associates online or at (253) 666-8927. We offer free DUI consultations so you can figure out your best options.

Don’t wait until it’s too late. Contact us today!