Sunday, August 22, 2010

Deferred Prosecution? What is it??

A DUI “arrest” in Washington State may result in very harsh and undesirable consequences if the driver arrested is “convicted” of the crime in a Washington State court of law. One way to avoid a DUI conviction is to enter (and successfully complete) a “Deferred Prosecution,” as authorized by Revised Code of Washington 10.05. Below following is a brief description of Washington State DUI Deferred Prosecutions:

• What is a Deferred Prosecution? A Deferred Prosecution is a Washington State program that allows a person accused of committing DUI to petition a court to dismiss his case if he: (1) enters and completes a two year alcohol/drug treatment program at a Washington State certified alcohol/ drug treatment agency, and (2) complies with all other court imposed conditions.

• Should a person petition for Deferred Prosecution when charged with a DUI in Washington State? The answer to this question really depends on a number of variables, ranging from the facts of the person’s case to the person’s criminal history and everything in-between. Retaining a qualified Seattle DUI attorney is the first step in making the determination.

• Will a person retain his Washington State driving privileges if he does a Deferred Prosecution? In short, yes. However, there are conditions associated with retaining the driving privilege. For instance, the person will be required to install an ignition interlock device in any non-work vehicle he drives.

• Will a person go to jail if he enters a Deferred Prosecution? In short, no; there is no jail time associated with a Deferred Prosecution. Unless, of course, the person is found to have violated the conditions of the Deferred Prosecution and the court thereafter revokes the Deferred Prosecution and convicts the person of DUI.

• Is a Deferred Prosecution easy to complete? No, it is actually very time consuming and difficult; it is very expensive and labor intensive. The person also is required to admit that he has an alcohol/drug problem, and that without treatment it is likely he will get stopped again for DUI.

• How many Deferred Prosecutions can a person be granted? A person is only authorized one Deferred Prosecution in his lifetime; not one Deferred Prosecution every five years like it was in the 1990’s. In short, “you use it, you lose it.”

• Can a person travel to Canada during (or after successfully completing) a Deferred Prosecution? It is not real clear whether a person will be authorized to travel to Canada while on (or after successfully completing) a Washington State Deferred Prosecution. Canada does not have a clear cut policy on Deferred Prosecutions; but it is clear that if a person is “convicted” of DUI that he will not be permitted into Canada.

• A DUI, Reckless Driving, Reckless Endangerment or Negligent Driving (reduced from DUI) conviction will enhance penalties if another DUI occurs within 7 years, is the same true for a successfully completed Deferred Prosecution? Even a successfully completed Deferred Prosecution will count as a “prior conviction” if that person receives another DUI within seven years; enhanced penalties on subsequent DUI convictions will thus occur.

Because of the significant consequences one faces when arrested for DUI in Washington State, it is imperative that he/she retain a qualified Washington State DUI attorney so as to not only best minimize the myriad of legal consequences he/she faces, but also to protect his/her rights and liberty interests. The Seattle criminal attorneys that make up the criminal defense team of SQ Attorneys are highly qualified Seattle DUI lawyers that are dedicated to providing top notch, aggressive representation for those charged with DUI in Western Washington. The team creates success by working with law enforcement and the prosecuting attorney’s office to ensure that all facts and circumstances related to the DUI allegations are considered in creating the fairest, most equitable and just resolution possible.

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