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How does deferred prosecution work for DUI charge

Tacoma, WA |
Attorney answers 4


A deferred prosecution is a five year probation which requires you to abstain from any alcohol, have SR 22 insurance and ignition interlock. They can only be used once in a lifetime, and unless you are a substance abuser, or substance dependent, you are not eligible for it. After january 1, you can still drive, no matter what kind of DUI you have, with what is called an ignition interlock license. The fee is $100, plus the cost of ignition interlock and SR22 Insurance.


Adding to Ms. Townsend's comments, if this is a first DUI, a deferred prosecution is an unwise solution for most. Where one would be looking only at a day or two of jail for a first offense, but could be looking at 30-45 days in jail for a second offense in 7 years, it's best to save the DP until it's absolutely necessary to use it. Further, whether for a first offense or not, a DP should be cautiously considered. A DP brands the defendant an alcoholic to the extent that, no matter how much time may pass between it and a possible future DUI, if there ever is a future offense, the defendant will most always be required to do "relapse" alcohol treatment--even if over a decade later. This is why the DP should only be used if someone truly believes he or she is an alcoholic in need of treatment.


When interviewing a DUI defense lawyer ask the following questions:

What percentage of your annual caseload is relegated to defending DUI?
How many DUI jury trials did you have in the past 12 months?
Can you provide a list of DUI training seminars or conferences attended in the past 2 to 5 years?
What percentage of your clients enter a plea of guilty to the crime charged?
Have you or any members of your firm written articles or books related to defending DUIs?
How many lawyers are in the firm, and are they all DUI defense attorneys? If so, will they collaborate with their colleagues about your DUI case?
How many years have you defended DUI cases?


I agree with both Ms. Townsend and Mr. Bassett's responses. I would just also like to note that as Mr. Bassett said, it is typically not wise to enter a deferred prosecution on a first DUI. One reason for this is that if you get convicted of a second DUI, a prior deferred prosecution COUNTS AS A PRIOR, even if successfully completed (which means that 5 years after you enter the deferred prosecution the charge will have been dismissed). Thus, if someone enters a deferred prosecution, successfully completes it and after 5 years it is dismissed, and then that person gets a new DUI within 7 years, he or she is still looking at mandatory minimum for a second DUI, which are 30 days in jail followed by 60 days of electric home monitoring or 45 days in jail followed by 90 days of electric home monitoring, depending upon the individual facts of a case. It is important to consult an attorney who can further advise you, as DUI and a deferred prosecution carry serious consequences and commitments.

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