DC DUI Diversion Program

A drunk driving conviction can haunt someone for the rest of their life. Whether a person pleads guilty or is found guilty by a judge or jury, the record of the offense will show up any time a background check is conducted. Conviction can also lead to serious penalties, including jail time and loss of driving privileges.

For some drunk driving defendants, participating in a DC diversion program can be another alternative that can allow a person to avoid these undesirable consequences. You should speak with an experienced DUI attorney to discuss whether DC DUI diversion programs may be a viable option.

DC DUI Diversion Programs

D.C. Code Section 50-2206.53 indicates that the Attorney General (AG) of the District of Columbia, or assistants to the AG, should prosecute impaired driving offenses. However, the attorney general can offer someone charged with drunk driving the opportunity to participate in a DC diversion program.

A diversion program is any program that allows someone charged for the first time with a DUI offense to complete certain requirements in exchange for avoiding a conviction, criminal record, and jail time.

There are two primary forms of DC DUI diversion programs:

  • Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA): Prosecution is delayed for a period of time, which usually lasts approximately four to six months. During this period of time, the defendant is given a series of steps to take and conditions to abide by. For example, a DUI defendant may be required to undergo drug and alcohol counseling, stay sober, and complete community service hours. If all conditions are met and requirements fulfilled, the DUI charges will be dismissed and no prosecution will occur. If any of the requirements are not met, the prosecution will move forward with the case and the AG will actively prosecute for the offense.
  • Deferred Sentencing Agreement (DSA) : A defendant agrees to plead guilty to the drunk driving offense. The Court schedules the sentencing six months to one year from the date of the offense. During this period of time, the defendant is given requirements to abide by and conditions to fulfill. If the defendant complies with all of the requirements, the defendant can withdraw the guilty plea and the charges will be dismissed. Since no sentencing occurs, there is no conviction.

A deferred prosecution agreement is preferable to a deferred sentencing agreement because some government agencies consider the guilty plea entered pursuant to a DSA the equivalent to a conviction. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), for example, both treat this type of arrangement as a conviction.

If a person has pled guilty but does not fulfill the requirements of the deferred sentencing agreement, they have waived their right to a trial and the case against them will proceed to the sentencing phase.

Working with a DUI Diversion Attorney

A DC DUI lawyer can help a person determine whether they qualify for DC diversion programs. An attorney can also fight on a person’s behalf for them to gain admission into a DUI diversion program in DC or can take other steps to try to help you avoid conviction and penalties for impaired driving. To secure advice from a knowledgeable advocate, a person should get the help of an attorney as soon as possible if they have been arrested for driving under the influence.

To secure advice from a knowledgeable advocate, a person should contact an attorney as soon as possible if they have been arrested for driving under the influence.