There are many potential outcomes in any Washington DUI case. Below is a short list of some of the possible outcomes for someone facing a DUI charge in Washington State. The list is not exclusive, but does give a broad overview of what might happen to someone facing a Washington DUI.
The first possible outcome in a Washington State DUI case is a dismissal of the charge. Obviously, the most sought after result in any Washington DUI is to have the case dismissed. There are many possible ways this may happen. It can happen if the prosecutor simply agrees to dismiss the charge because there is a lack of evidence. This is a rare outcome, however, because most prosecutors, regardless of how weak their case may be, are reluctant to simply dismiss a charge. A more likely way that a Washington DUI case would be dismissed is after a motion hearing before the court. Motions to dismiss DUI charges can be based on a lack of evidence, violations of speedy trial rights, lapses in statutes of limitations, prosecutorial misconduct or a variety of state and/or federal Constitutional violations. Finally, a case can be dismissed by a jury after a jury trial or a judge in the case of a bench trial, this type of “dismissal” is called an “acquittal”, it happens when a person accused of a Washington DUI is found “not guilty” of the allegation.
The second possible outcome in a Washington State DUI case is a negotiated settlement between the defendant and the government. This is actually the most common outcome of a Washington State DUI case; most cases that start off as a DUI charge are resolved by an agreement between the parties. This is what is known as “plea bargain”. Such a process is the result of your attorney negotiating your case with a prosecutor based on the strengths of your case and the weaknesses in the State’s case. The benefit of a plea bargained settlement is that it allows for a result other than a DUI and it keeps the outcome within the hands of the defendant. Generally, there are three charges to which a DUI is commonly plea bargained to in Washington State: (1) Negligent Driving in the First Degree, (2) Reckless Endangerment, and (3) Reckless Driving.
The third possible outcome in a Washington State DUI case is a finding of “guilty” of the DUI allegation. There are two potential ways in which a person facing a Washington DUI can be found guilty of DUI. The first is by pleading guilty to the charge at some stage of the case. The benefits of pleading as charged are rare, but in very specific instances there may be a benefit to pleading to a Washington DUI charge as charged. The second way to be found guilty of a Washington DUI is to be found guilty after a trial.
The fourth possible outcome in a Washington State DUI case is resolving the case by entering into a “deferred prosecution” program. A deferred prosecution is an agreement by the government not to prosecute in exchange for the defendant’s agreement to enter into and complete a two year intensive inpatient or outpatient alcohol/drug/or mental health treatment program. There are several conditions placed on the defendant and the entirety of the agreement lasts five years. This is not a one size fits all option and should only be under taken after full consultation with a DUI lawyer and a complete understanding of what is expected of the defendant.
Because of the significant implications a DUI arrest and/or conviction can have, it is imperative that a person charged with DUI in Washington State immediately retain a qualified Seattle DUI lawyer or a qualified Bellevue DUI lawyer. In many instances, a qualified Seattle DUI lawyer can significantly reduce the impact that a DUI charge will have on an individual’s life. The right Seattle DUI attorney will be worth his/her weight in gold when protecting a person’s rights, freedom and future. The Seattle DUI attorneys that make up the litigation team of SQ Attorneys are dedicated to defending those accused of drunk driving. They have the experience, knowledge and resources to successfully defend your case. Unlike other law firms that practice in many areas of the law, SQ Attorneys is focused on criminal defense representation with an emphasis on DUI defense in Western Washington.
If you or a loved one is faced with a DUI charge in Western Washington, you deserve the assistance of a reputable and qualified Seattle DUI attorney who will relentlessly defend your case. You deserve a Seattle DUI lawyer who has an intimate understanding of Washington DUI laws and the legal issues that could win your case. You deserve a Seattle DUI defense attorney who is not afraid to stand up against the prosecution and aggressively fight for your rights and interests. SQ Attorneys is the right Western Washington DUI law firm for the job. Call for a free initial consultation – (206) 441.0900 (Seattle); (425) 998-8384 (Eastside) – it will be the best decision you make all day.