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Deferred sentencing might be a very viable option for a person who stands accused of driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs or a combination thereof. What’s pivotal is that since 2013, the law in the State of Washington no longer allows deferred sentencing on a plea or finding of guilty on a DUI charge. Washington law does allow a deferred sentence in a case when a DUI charge has been reduced to a lesser offense.

If you’ve been charged with DUI, contact Spokane’s DUI Defense Lawyer Dean Chuang right away. He is one of the area’s top DUI attorneys.

What Happens When a Sentence is Deferred?

A person is convicted of a criminal offense by either a plea of guilty that’s accepted and entered by a court, or a finding of guilty pursuant to a bench trial or jury trial. He or she is then sentenced. Under certain circumstances, a judge is allowed to exercise his or her sound discretion and defer sentencing for a period of time. Most cases involve a one to two year deferral period. During that one to two year interim, the defendant is required to remain in compliance with all conditions of the deferred sentence. Upon successful compliance and expiration of the term of deferred sentencing the case can be brought before the court again, and the DUI charge might be formally dismissed.

Who is Eligible for Deferred Sentencing in Washington?

Washington’s deferred sentencing statute is intended to benefit individuals who have never been charged criminally in the past. The facts of each case determine eligibility. A low blood alcohol or marijuana content and no accident or aggravating evidence operate to benefit the defendant. The DUI charge must be reduced to a lesser charge like reckless or even negligent driving for a defendant to be eligible for deferred prosecution. An individual with a prior deferred sentence or a prior criminal conviction isn’t eligible.

A Second DUI Arrest

The fact that a deferred sentence was successfully served, and a DUI charge was dismissed isn’t relevant if the same person is arrested for a DUI again. That prior arrest remains on a person’s record. It will still operate as a prior offense for purposes of sentencing.

Contact a Spokane DUI Lawyer

Don’t confuse deferred sentencing with deferred prosecution. Deferred prosecution is also available as a sentencing alternative in DUI cases, but it’s conditions are strict. The defendant must remain in therapy and free from alcohol or drugs for five years. Random alcohol and drug testing will be ordered. Deferred sentencing is a far better alternative. Invoke your rights, and contact us right away after any DUI arrest, and we’ll arrange for a time for you to speak with us at our offices. We’ll carefully listen to you, answer your questions and provide you with our objective assessment about what we might be able to do for you. Deferred sentencing might be a very viable alternative in your case.

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