Deferred Prosecution in Washington

Vancouver WA DUI Attorney

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 and the probability of future recurrence is great unless treated.  Deferred prosecution is only available once in a lifetime in Washington

RCW 10.05.150 describes the minimal treatment required to comply with the program.  This treatment lasts two years and is intensive and costly.  Those admitted to the program for mental health issues, however, do not have these strict minimum treatment requirements.

Deferred Prosecution is typically used when a defendant is charged with a DUI.  Because DUI’s have mandatory minimum jail penalties up to 120 days in jail and 120 days of house arrest, deferred prosecution is an attractive alternative to serving that amount of time.

The deferred prosecution program for a DUI charge lasts for a total of 5 years.  During that time, there is an ignition interlock requirement that is either 1 year, 5 years or 10 years, depending on your criminal history.    During the 5 years, a violation of the strict terms of the program may result in serious penalties.  If you are in violation of your deferred prosecution, you can be revoked from the program, convicted of the original charge and sentenced to jail for a term that may exceed your mandatory minimums.  Common reasons for being revoked from deferred prosecution include not complying with treatment and conviction of a similar offense while on the program.

The decision whether to enter deferred prosecution is a difficult one that will affect you for years.  Consult with an attorney experienced with Deferred Prosecutions and the local courts to help you make the best decision for your individual case.