What is Deferred Prosecution?

What is a Deferred Prosecution for DUI Cases?

A deferred prosecution is something that should not be taken lightly.  If you have been charged with a DUI or physical control in Washington State you are only eligible for deferred prosecution once in a lifetime.  If you are able to complete all of the court imposed conditions after a 5 year period, the DUI charge will be dismissed.  

Deferred prosecution has its benefits.  It can help you keep your driver’s license, avoid having to serve jail time, as well help those with serious drug or alcohol dependency achieve sobriety.


There is a strict criteria that you must meet before you can be eligible for deferred prosecution.

  1. You cannot have been granted a deferred prosecution in your lifetime
  2. You must be diagnosed by a court approved substance abuse counselor as alcohol dependent, drug dependent or have mental health issues diagnosed by a mental health professional
  3. You must be enrolled and complete a 2 year treatment program for alcohol or drug abuse, or a 2 year treatment program for mental health treatment. RCW 10.05.020

Serious Considerations

When you enter into a deferred prosecution program you need to consider several court requirements

  1. When you agree to a deferred prosecution for a DUI, you must give up the opportunity to fight your case in court. Meaning if at all during the 5 year period you are found out of compliance with the terms of the deferred prosecution, the presiding judge would read the police report from DUI charge, and you could be found guilty of the DUI charge without the ability to present evidence in your defense.
  2. After you have successfully completed the deferred prosecution program and the DUI charge is dismissed, the deferred prosecution is still considered a prior offense. RCW 46.61.5055
  3. When accepting a deferred prosecution you are legally required to state that you have an alcohol or drug abuse problem or suffering from mental health issues, and by stating this you agree that without professional treatment the possibility of a repeat offense is likely.
  4. You are required to be abstinent from alcohol and non-prescribed, mood altering drugs during the 5 year deferred program. You will be required to submit random urinalysis tests through the treatment agency and probation to confirm your abstinence from alcohol or drugs.
  5. A rigorous 2 year treatment program for alcohol, drug abuse or mental health is required.
  6. There are several costs to consider when entering into a deferred prosecution program. You will be required to take financial responsibility for any treatment program expenses as well as probation costs. Courts will consider probation costs to be paid over a length of time, however it is important to understand that expenses can range in the $1000’s
  7. The court will require you to have an ignition interlock device as well as an ignition interlock license. The Washington State Department of Licensing might have this requirement as well, depending on if your license has been suspended by them.

All Things Considered

Getting a DUI is a serious offense, and having the right people in your corner to help you get through this hiccup in your life can be life changing.  Rick is an experienced DUI attorney that can help you navigate the legal process.

Give us a Call

If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of receiving a DUI, please don’t hesitate to give Rick a call.  He is an experienced DUI attorney and has been handling DUI cases since 1992.

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