Some attorneys you contact after a DUI charge may tell you about a “wonderful” option to deal with the charge, an option that allows you to keep your license and even provides for dismissal of the charge. This option is called a “Deferred Prosecution.” It does allow you to keep your personal driver’s license, though CDL holders will still lose their commercial licenses, and, if you comply with the terms of the program, will eventually result in a dismissal of the DUI charge – at the end of a five year period. But a deferred prosecution is not the best option for most charged with a DUI, particularly those charged with a first offense. Why is this? The deferred prosecution program is designed to allow alcoholics who believe that the DUI charge against them was a result of their alcoholism a once in a lifetime chance to obtain treatment and get on the road to recovery, with the hope that, once sober, the alcoholic will not be back before the court on a new DUI charge.
By entering the program, you agree to a two-year intensive alcohol treatment program. If you decide not to complete the deferred prosecution, the court will still order you to complete this treatment program as a condition of your sentence for DUI. In addition, you agree not to drink or have any new law violations, including new DUIs, for the next five years. A new law violation may result in a revocation of the deferred prosecution. This means you will be convicted of the DUI with which you were originally charged, and will still have to complete the treatment program, as well as facing prosecution for new offenses. As well, you will be subject to random drug testing by the treatment agency. If you are found to have been drinking or using drugs, you may be subject to revocation of the deferred prosecution.
During the course of the deferred prosecution program, you will be on court-ordered probation, meaning you must report to a probation officer for regular appointments. These appointments may also include random drug testing. Failure to comply with any conditions set by probation can result in penalties, including jail time, or a revocation of the deferred prosecution.
Finally, as a condition of the deferred prosecution, you will agree not to drive without a valid license or insurance. Failure to have proper insurance, even if stopped for a speeding ticket, can result in penalties under the program.
As you can see, the deferred prosecution program is an intensive process, and should be considered only as a last resort for offenders who have had one or more prior DUI convictions, or those who truly believe themselves to be affected by the disease of alcoholism, and are ready to make a serious commitment to sobriety. Our office would be happy to further discuss this program with you and, if you do decide that a deferred prosecution is your best option, we can guide you through this process as well, including finding an appropriate treatment agency, entering paperwork with the court, and attending review hearings to monitor your progress.
Let Pelley Law help you with your DUI. Contact your Seattle Criminal Defense Lawyer today.