What is a deferred prosecution?
A deferred prosecution, in Washington, is an agreement by the State not to prosecute a DUI in exchange for the defendant’s agreement to enter into and 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. For more read, “Is a Deferred Prosecution Right for You?”
How much does a two year, deferred prosecution, treatment program cost?
Treatment costs very from agency to agency. Typically costs of a two year outpatient treatment program run between $2,000.00-$5,000.00 depending on the agency. Many health insurance plans will cover a significant portion of the cost but not all agencies accept insurance. When being evaluated, be sure to ask if the agency accepts your insurance.
What happens if I enter into a deferred prosecution and then change my mind?
By the terms of the agreement, if you do not finish the program or you commit a major violation of the conditions imposed by the court, you will be revoked from the program and the court will review the police report to determine your guilt or innocence. In all likelihood, you would be found guilty and sentenced upon the DUI conviction.
What happens if I violate the terms of the deferred prosecution?
It depends on the violation and the court. For some minor violations (i.e. missing a meeting with treatment, falling behind on required AA meetings) many courts will give a second chance. Other courts or judges however, have a zero tolerance policy. Any mistakes would mean a revocation and ultimately a conviction. For major violations (i.e. a new DUI, continued alcohol use) a revocation would be all but automatic.
I did a deferred prosecution 15 years ago. Can I enter into another one?
No. Regardless of how long ago you completed the deferred prosecution, you only get to do one per lifetime. Make it count.
I want to enter into a deferred prosecution but plan on moving out of state. Is that a problem?
It’s not a problem but it will pose some challenges. If you move before you enter a program, you’ll need to find an out of state agency that is certified AND will comply with the Washington Deferred Prosecution statute. If you move afterward, the above applies plus you’ll need to get the court’s permission before you change programs.