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We have provided this section of frequently asked questions and their answers for your convenience. If you have any further questions call Michael Frans' office in Burien and we will be glad to answer them for you.
Criminal Defense Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Deferred Prosecution?
A deferred prosecution is a sentencing alternative that can be exercised once in a lifetime on Title 46 crimes, which includes DUI's.
A deferred prosecution allows one to essentially substitute treatment and probation for confinement.
A deferred prosecution requires completion of a two year treatment program following a finding of alcohol dependence, and an additional three years of compliance with court imposed conditions. All jail time, electronic home monitoring, and under some circumstances, licensing consequences, are stayed during the life of the program. The charges are dismissed if the program is successfully completed. However, if the conditions of the program are violated, the deferred prosecution can be revoked. This results in conviction and sentencing.
The deferred prosecution program requires serious commitment. Deferred Prosecutions may also be entered on the basis of chemical dependency and mental health.
I didn't provide a breath test or I blew under the legal limit, how can I be convicted of DUI?
In Washington, one can be convicted of DUI by two alternative means: the "per se" prong and the "affected by" prong.
The per se prong involves the number and is not concerned with whether the number actually equates to impairment. If the number is at or over the legal limit, and the jury believes the number is accurate and reliable, conviction follows. The per se prong is merely by the number.
The affected by prong does not require a number and can be based on the are string officer's testimony and opinion. A jury would essentially be asked to determine from the evidence whether the person's driving was affected to ANY appreciable degree.
The evidence can be based on the officer's observations, alleged driving, performance on field sobriety tests, statements allegedly made by the person arrested, among other factors that may be present.
If my license is suspended is there any way I can still drive?
Yes. If your license is suspended you can install ignition interlock in your vehicle and apply for an ignition interlock license that will allow you to drive 24 hours a day during the period of suspension as long as you are in your car with the interlock installed.
If you drive company vehicles for work, you can also apply for an exemption that will allow you drive such vehicles for work purposes without interlock.
If I've never been in trouble before I should get a break on my first DUI right?
Not Necessarily. You may know someone or know someone who knows someone who has had multiple DUI arrests with horrible facts and yet miraculously has never lost heir license or never gone to jail. Such stories may or may not be true, but either way have no relevance to your situation.
Every case is different. Potential outcomes can change based on such factors as:
- The arresting agency
- The court the case is filed in
- The prosecutor handling the case
- The facts of the case and the legal issues that may or may not be present
Tolerance for DUI's are at an all time low. King County in particular has been essentially operating on a zero tolerance policy since mid 2013 and other jurisdictions are following along. When it comes to DUI's there is no guarantee of leniency under any circumstances.
I'm charged with a felony offense, what kind of jail time am I looking at?
This depends on the seriousness of the offense and whether there is any applicable criminal history. The combination of these two factors will determine the sentencing range.
How long does a DUI stay on my record?
A DUI conviction cannot be vacated. Most misdemeanor offenses can be vacated three years after the probationary period ends, but not DUI. Some felony offenses can be vacated in five to ten years depending on the nature of the conviction. Domestic violence related convictions can typically be vacated in 5 years depending on the circumstances.
Will I survive this?
I highly recommend Michael Frans. He was able to have my 2nd degree assault charge ( which would count as "a strike" ) dropped down to a 2nd degree criminal trespass charge ( which is a simple misdemeanor ).