DUI - Deferred Prosecution in Washington State
This brief guide provides an overview of the deferred prosecution program in Washington State.
Overview of Deferred Prosecution GoalsWashington law, RCW 10.05, allows a person to do an alcohol-based deferred prosecution once in his/her lifetime. Therefore, it is not often recommended that one enter into a deferred prosecution for a first-time DUI, but rather that the deferred prosecution option be saved in case one receives a subsequent DUI within seven years and faces substantially increased mandatory minimum penalties. A successful Deferred Prosecution avoids jail time and avoids a criminal conviction, but there is still a requirement that one obtain an ignition interlock device and there are substantial financial costs.
Program RequirementsThe Deferred Prosecution program is very strenuous, so one should not be under the impression that it is an easy way to avoid a DUI conviction. To be eligible for the Program, you must first obtain an alcohol evaluation that concludes that you are an alcoholic or a substance abuse addict (which terms cover a broad range of problems). The Deferred Prosecution program requires complete abstinence of alcohol for five years. The treatment program is very rigorous. It involves attendance at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting two times a week for two years, coupled with intensive inpatient treatment or, more likely, intensive outpatient treatment. For example, the typical program involves an eight week period during which you attend classes three nights a week for three hours a night, followed by a 26-week period of once-a-week classes of 1 1/2 hours per night, followed by one counseling session per month for the remainder of the two years. You will be subject to random alcohol testing during the treatment period. If you successfully complete the treatment program, and stay crime-free for a five-year period beginning when the Petition for Deferred Prosecution is granted by the court, then the criminal charge is dismissed at the end of the five-year period. During the five-year period, it remains a pending criminal charge. If you violate the terms of the program (e.g., by submitting a dirty UA or being arrested on a new criminal offense) you can be revoked from the program and sentenced for the charge.