There is a vast array of potential outcomes in any Washington DUI case; more so than for any other criminal charge. This is a positive for those charged with a DUI in Washington because it means there are a greater number of ways to avoid a DUI conviction. Below is a list of these possible outcomes and what they might mean for you. This list is by no means exhaustive, but it does give you an idea of how your case might unfold and eventually be resolved. For a full discussion of these issues, call or email a Washington DUI lawyer at Milios Defense, 24 hours a day. Seven days a week.
Dismissal of the Case
The most sought after result is the dismissal of the charge and it can occur in primarily one of three forms. The first is that the prosecutor agrees to dismiss the charge for lack of evidence. In this instance, the prosecutor does not believe she can proceed based on the evidence at hand. This is a rare outcome, however, because most prosecutors, regardless of how weak their case may be, are reluctant to simply dismiss a charge. A more likely way that your case would be dismissed is after a motion hearing before the court. Motions to dismiss DUI charges can be based on lack of evidence, violations of speedy trial rights, lapses in statutes of limitations, prosecutorial misconduct or a variety of Constitutional violations. Regardless of the facts in your case, all of these DUI motions should be considered. Finally, a case can be dismissed by a jury after a jury trial or a judge in the case of a bench trial.
Most cases that start off as a DUI charge are resolved by an agreement between the parties. This is what is known as plea bargaining. Such a process is the result of your attorney negotiating your case with a prosecutor based on the strengths of your case and the weaknesses in the State’s case as well as your own personal strengths. In some cases a plea bargain can be reached quickly. In others, it is the result of a lot of time and hard work.
The benefit of a plea bargain is that it allows for a result other than a DUI and it keeps the outcome within the hands of you and your DUI lawyer as opposed to a judge or jury. In the vast majority of cases that are plea bargained, not only is the DUI avoided, but most of the mandatory DUI consequences as well. There are three charges to which a DUI is commonly plea bargained to: Negligent Driving in the First Degree, Reckless Endangerment, and Reckless Driving. But there are others as well.
An unfortunate possibility with any DUI charge is that it could result in a finding of guilt. Fortunately at Milios Defense, over the course of the last 16 years, that has been a rare occurrence, the large majority of our cases fall within the two categories above. Still, there are two ways in which you could be found guilty as charged. The first is by pleading guilty as you were charged. We never recommend that you do this unless there is some huge benefit to doing so. The benefits are rare but occasionally do present themselves. The other is if you are found guilty after a trial.
Discussed at length in another section, a deferred prosecution is an agreement by the State not to prosecute in exchange for the defendant’s agreement to enter into a complete a two year intensive outpatient alcohol/drug/or mental health treatment program. There are several conditions placed on the defendant and the entirety of the agreement lasts five years. This is not a one size fits all option and should only be under taken after full consultation with a DUI lawyer and a complete understanding of what is expected of you. Read the Deferred Prosecution section for more.