Most people in Washington State know that the consequences associated with a drunk driving conviction may be quite severe and quite costly. People who have been arrested and charged with a driving under the influence offense may have heard about a program that offers them the potential ability to avoid a conviction. This program is called deferred prosecution. Understanding it fully is important before deciding to pursue participation.

As explained by the Washington State Legislature, deferred prosecution for a DUI may require participation in a program and adherence to all program rules for two full years. During this time, a person cannot consume alcohol and will be subject to random tests to confirm sobriety. The driver must also admit to having an alcohol dependency or a mental illness. This admission would remain on a permanent legal record. Deferred prosecution is only made available to people one time in their life. Any prior participation eliminates this option for them.

During the two-year period, the person must complete three phases of treatment. The first requires six hours of treatment program attendance each week for 12 weeks. This steps down to weekly and ultimately monthly attendance until the two years is complete.

Regardless of participation in a deferred prosecution, a person arrested for suspected drunk driving may have their driver’s license suspended for at least 90 days and maybe up to 24 months, according to the Washington State Department of Licensing. If convicted, the suspension period may extend up to 48 months depending on the circumstances. Use of an ignition interlock device may allow a person the ability to reinstate their driving privileges during this time.