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Can You Get a Deferred DUI in Washington State?

You may be facing a drunk and/or drug-impaired driving charge and have heard about the deferred DUI program. What is a deferred DUI? It is one in which you can avoid a jail sentence and have the charge dismissed once you have complied with all statutory requirements of the program. At first glance, that sounds great and definitely the way to go. However, you must fully understand the full meaning of the statutory requirements as well as any other drawbacks before agreeing to pursue such a course of action.

Before you can even consider a DUI deferred program, you must qualify for it. These qualifications include:

  • You’ve never been permitted a DUI deferral before
  • You will have to admit to alcohol or drug addiction or to having a mental illness that will make future offenses likely without adequate treatment
  • You will have to waive your right to a trial and to being innocent until proven guilty
  • You will have to waive rights involving the ability to have witnesses testify on your behalf and to cross-examine witnesses making statements against your innocence
  • You will lose your right to appeal
  • You will have to admit your guilt

Once you qualify you will have to abide by the program; judges can’t change the requirements of the program because they have been written into law.

These requirements include having to engage in substance abuse or mental health treatments for a period of two years. The treatment sessions are intense. They include three group meetings every week for the first three months followed by one group meeting every week for eight months thereafter and one group meeting for the rest of the two years.

You will also be required to attend two meetings every week for a minimum of two years with a self-help group such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. The last requirement is to have an ignition interlock device installed and maintained on your vehicle for a minimum of one year.

The entire program lasts a minimum of five years. The first two years require successfully completing the treatment program. However, if you have not successfully completed in that time period, you will have to continue if until you have completed it. That is followed by the additional three years under court supervision. Once you complete all five years (or however long it takes) of the program, your case will be dismissed if you have stayed off drugs or alcohol and have avoided being charged with any other crimes.

As you can see, the program is a huge commitment of time, effort, and dedication. In light how many people “fall off the wagon” when trying to beat a drug or alcohol addiction, the program can be difficult at best. It is really only optimum for people who sincerely wish to change their lives and overcome addiction or mental health issues and who are willing to give up their constitutional rights to do so.

If you would like to discuss the pros and cons of the DUI deferral program, we advise you to work with an experienced attorney. At Hester Law Group, we our skilled legal team has more than 130 years of combined experience in legal representation.

Contact us at (253) 300-3034 to schedule a free consultation with a DUI attorney today.