DUI Q&A Series - What is Deferred Prosecution in Washington State DUI Cases?

substance dependence and/or mental health issues


The Deferred Prosecution Program, created by the Washington State Legislature, is a program designed to help DUI defendants who suffer from substance dependence and/or mental health issues. Deferred Prosecution involves a qualification determination as well as a treatment program followed by a probationary period, and it may involve additional requirements such as driving with an Ignition Interlock Device.


The Washington state legislature has created a program called the Deferred Prosecution Program that's primarily used in DUI cases.

If you suffer from alcohol dependency, drug addiction, or certain mental health diagnoses, you may be eligible to enter this program. This program involves a treatment component, usually a two-year program, followed by a probationary component, usually an additional three years. During this period of time, you're monitored by the court and by probation.

You may be required to drive with an ignition interlock device as well. For more about those, click here.

You may also be required to abstain from alcohol or drugs, attend 12-step or other sober support-type meetings, and continue to provide updates on your treatment status. At the end of the five years, your DUI charge can be dismissed. That's why this program is so beneficial to people living with those conditions. The catch is, you only get one deferred prosecution per lifetime.

Statistics show that those who do suffer from those conditions are far more likely to re-offend over time, which means a deferred prosecution may not always be the right solution in your case.

  • What if you don't qualify?
  • What if you don't suffer from one of those conditions?
  • What then?
  • Well, you wouldn't qualify for deferred prosecution, and frankly, it wouldn't be the right program for you anyway.

To learn more about alternative solutions to your DUI, including finding out whether or not deferred prosecution is right for you, feel free to call us anytime.

We're always happy to answer those questions.