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Is Deferred Prosecution an Option for My Washington DUI?

Posted on April 30, 2018 in criminal defense, DUI

Washington laws can be very harsh on individuals convicted of DUI. However, the state recognizes that certain offenders are also victims of drugs or alcohol addiction and allows some leeway when it comes to potential penalties and treatment alternatives. The state’s deferred prosecution law affords a person facing DUI charges the chance to complete an intensive rehabilitation program rather than being subjected to typical DUI prosecution. While this may seem like a wonderful option if you have been arrested, it’s important to note that the deferred prosecution treatment program is extremely intensive and not ideal for everyone. A skilled Washington DUI lawyer can help you understand if a deferred prosecution is right for you if you have recently been arrested for DUI.

Contact The Law Offices of Morgan Fletcher Benfield, PLLC, to speak with a knowledgeable Tacoma DUI lawyer about your DUI charges and how you can move on with your life. Call today at (253) 375-8055 or submit a request online to schedule a free consultation.

Qualifying For A Deferred Prosecution

The DUI court process allows people to proceed with a deferred prosecution if they show a health disorder related to addiction or a mental health problem. Additionally, you must make clear that you are determined to follow through with the rigorous treatment program, set up by the state. You give up your right to a trial by agreeing to go through with the deferred prosecution. Therefore, you will be immediately found guilty of DUI if you fail to adequately complete the requirements of the program.

Before seeking a DUI deferred prosecution in Washington, it’s important to understand the following:

  • You will pay the expenses for your treatment program, which can be up to several thousand dollars. It may be possible to pay in installments over time.
  • You only qualify if you have never been granted a deferred prosecution before.
  • You will be going on record as having a drug or alcohol addiction or a mental disorder.
  • You will agree to the consequences of the DUI conviction if you fail any part of your treatment program.
  • Even if a deferred prosecution is completed successfully, it will count as a prior conviction if you are arrested again for DUI.

The Deferred Prosecution Treatment Program

The rehabilitation programs for deferred prosecution are meant to be comprehensive, and your deferred prosecution treatment will be a huge part of your life. Since these programs are administered under detailed requirements laid out by state courts, you won’t really be able to shop around for a unique program that you prefer over other options. Dealing with addiction is a lifelong process, and it will take years before you can be considered to have completed the requirements of your deferred prosecution.

An example of a deferred prosecution program for alcohol addiction could be broken down into the following phases:

  • Intensive Phase – Lasting for weeks or even months, this will include almost daily contact with medical professionals in either an inpatient or outpatient setting. You will work with counselors and educators helping you in support groups and with lifestyle changes.
  • Follow-up Phase – Here you will still be required to attend several alcoholic support meetings a week, and there will often be random breath or urine tests required. This phase can last two years.
  • Monitoring Phase – The court will determine what programs or other requirements you must meet during this time before successful completion of your deferred prosecution. This could still include random tests or counseling and will last for about three years.

The court will not allow you to seek a deferred prosecution if it does not believe that you can meet the requirements of a treatment program. Additionally, you must decide if this option is right for you. Speaking with your lawyer and family will help you decide if a deferred prosecution is something that you should consider.

The Law Offices of Morgan Fletcher Benfield, PLLC, Can Help You

It’s important to seek a skilled lawyer to help you move on with your life after a DUI arrest. DUI offenses are taken very seriously, but the state of Washington also has some options to help those suffering from addiction or mental issues. A deferred prosecution may be available, and it might help to improve your life greatly. Facing criminal charges like a DUI are confusing and stressful, but a Tacoma criminal defense lawyer can help you understand your options and how to move on after this difficult time.

To speak with a Tacoma DUI attorney about your arrest, contact The Law Offices of Morgan Fletcher Benfield, PLLC at (253) 375-8055 or via our online form.