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WHATCOM COUNTY DEFERRED PROSECUTION

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If you have been charged with driving under the influence in Whatcom County you have options.  Certainly, some options appear better than others.  However, the Washington State legislature has considered that some individuals suffer from alcoholism or drug dependence and without treatment, the risk of reoffending is real and concerning.  Out of this belief grew the deferred prosecution.

Click here for the helpful and free Whatcom County Deferred Prosecution Handout.

The 
deferred prosecution program in Whatcom County is not for the faint of heart but if the participant is successful the benefits are obvious, no jail, no license suspension and complete dismissal of your DUI charge.  Not bad!  And, the best thing is even the Bellingham Municipal Court Judge or Whatcom County District CourtJudge will be happy to dismiss your case.

On the downside, the participant will earn these profound benefits as the program is demanding and unforgiving.  The alcohol or drug treatment is for a period of two years and consists of three distinct phases, each getting progressing less demanding.  The first phase is 3 months long and consists of three treatment sessions per week.  The second phase of the treatment program requires one treatment session per week for 6 months.  The third and final phase demands the participant complete one treatment per month for the final 15 months.  In addition to all the treatment the statute requires 2 AA sessions per week for the entire two years.  Finally, the petitioner cannot drink any alcohol for the entire 5 year probationary period (two of these years will require you to meet with probation in Bellingham for two years).

To be eligible for a deferred prosecution you must meet certain requirements demanded by the legislature in RCW 10.05, including:

  • You cannot have ever been granted a deferred prosecution before in your life.   RCW 10.05.010;

  • You must be diagnosed as alcohol dependent, drug dependent, or with mental health issues.  RCW 10.05.020;

  • You must enroll in the recommended drug, alcohol, or mental health treatment program and successfully comply with all treatment recommendations.  RCW 10.05.020.


The benefits to the Washington deferred prosecution program are obvious however it is not something to enter into without serious consideration and discussion with a local 
Bellingham DUI lawyer.  Some of the many factors to include before agreeing to the program include:

  • You may only enter one deferred prosecution in a lifetime;

  • You must give up the opportunity to fight your case and waive all your rights to a jury trial.  If you do not comply with the demands of the program the judge would simply read the police reports and find you guilty of the original DUI charge;

  • Even if successfully completed and dismissed, a deferred prosecution will be considered” “prior offense” if you were to receive another Washington DUI;
  • By entering into a deferred prosecution you make a legal record that you are chemically dependent suffering from mental health problems which can have long term consequences;
  • You must remain abstinent from alcohol and non-prescribed, mood altering substances during the 5 years.   You will be subject to random urinalysis tests;
  • The treatment program is time consuming and requires a sincere commitment to sobriety;
  • You are responsible for the costs of treatment and probation;
  • You will be required by the Washington State Department of Licensing to only drive a vehicle equipped with an ignition interlock device for 1, 5, or 10 years.  The length of time will depend upon the number of times the DOL has required you to install an IID in the past.


For more information about the 
Whatcom County Deferred Prosecution program please contact one of the Bellingham DUI lawyers at the Law Firm of David N. Jolly.