Some “Common” DUI Resolutions in Washington State
An ideal solution in a DUI case is getting the DUI charged dismissed or beating the charge at trial. However, under most circumstances, a good resolution is a reduction of the DUI charge to something with less serious consequences. Whatever the circumstances, DUI resolutions should be carefully discussed with a qualified drunk driving lawyer.
These days prosecutors are not as reluctant to agree to reduction of the DUI charge. It is more important than ever to have the right DUI attorney on your side. A competent DUI attorney will present prosecutors with factual and legal weaknesses in the case in order to get the prosecutor to agree to a lower charge.
We attempt to negotiate for our clients the best possible plea bargain under the circumstances. It allows our clients the option of weighing the benefits of accepting the plea bargain and chances of fighting the DUI charges at trial.
Below is the list of common offenses used in plea bargains to reduce a DUI to a less serious charge. This is not an exclusive list.
Negligent Driving in the First Degree is considered a lower offense than DUI for several reasons. First, it is a misdemeanor; DUI is a gross misdemeanor. There is no mandatory jail sentence and the maximum jail term that the court may impose is 90 days vs. mandatory jail for DUI conviction with a possible jail of up to 364 days. The maximum fine is $1,000 vs. $5,000 fine for DUI. Lastly, there is no mandatory license suspension.
Read more about Negligent Driving in the First Degree here.
Reckless Driving is more serious than Negligent Driving. Like DUI, Reckless Driving is a gross misdemeanor. However, most people facing a DUI charge would prefer a reduction to Reckless Driving to avoid a DUI conviction. Unlike DUI, Reckless Driving does not carry a mandatory jail sentence. In addition, there is a 30-day license suspension for Reckless Driving conviction, vs. a minimum 90-day license suspension for a DUI conviction.
Read more about Reckless Driving here.
Deferred Prosecution Program in DUI Resolutions
In certain cases, entering a deferred prosecution program may be a better choice. What this means is that the DUI charge is “put on hold” for five years. If you successfully complete the two-year treatment program, remains sober, and do not violate any criminal laws, the court will drop the DUI charge five years after entering into the program. Violating any of the terms of the deferred prosecution could result in the termination of the program, and an automatic finding of the DUI charge.
To qualify for deferred prosecution, you must be diagnosed as alcohol or drug dependent. Even though the DUI is dismissed through the deferred prosecution, it will still count as a prior offense if you get another DUI in the future.
However, I (and other reputable DUI attorneys) do not recommend deferred prosecution for people who are facing their first DUI charge. Nonetheless, you should give us a call to see if deferred prosecution is right option in your case.