Deferred Prosecution for Mental Health Issues

Deferred Prosecution is a program available to those charged with misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor crimes in Washington. RCW Chapter 10.05 lays out the framework for the program.  The program allows a defendant to avoid a conviction and its penalties by entering into and successfully completing the program.  The defendant has to state under oath that the crime charged was a result of alcohol or substance use or mental health issues Deferred Prosecution may only be used once by a defendant.

When a defendant enters Deferred Prosecution for mental health reasons, the law does not have strict guidelines for treatment.  This allows the defendant and their treatment provider to create a plan that is specific to the individual situation and is sometime less rigorous than entering the program for alcohol or drug abuse.

Deferred Prosecution is typically brought up when a defendant is charged with a DUI.  Because DUI’s have mandatory minimum jail penalties from 30 -120 days in jail for subsequent convictions within seven years, deferred is an attractive alternative to months in jail.  However, the program is open to all misdemeanor and gross misdemeanor offenses.


Leave a Comment