Diversion Programs & Deferred Sentencing Agreements Available For First Time DUI
The DC Attorney General’s Office used to offer a diversion program that would allow a person to complete alcohol classes in exchange for getting the charges dismissed. This program was available to drivers who had previously never been arrested for a DUI, who had an otherwise clean driving record and who had clean criminal history.
Prosecutors eliminated that program about five years ago, and in its place they began providing deferred sentencing for people in certain circumstances. Deferred sentencing is an agreement that, in exchange for a person’s guilty plea, the Attorney General’s Office will allow the person to complete several conditions, the completion of which permits the person to withdraw their guilty plea and have their charges dismissed. These conditions typically include community service and alcohol classes. They can also include a Victim Impact Panel, payment of fines, and/or defensive driver classes.
Contact a DC DUI Lawyer
If you are facing a driving under the influence charge call a DUI lawyer in DC today to discuss sentencing options for your case. An attorney can look at the facts involved in your case and determine whether deferred sentencing or another alternative sentencing method is right for you. Call today and schedule a free consultation to learn more.
Deferred Sentencing Requirements
When DC first created the program, they added certain eligibility requirements in addition to the lack of prior DUIs. A person could not have caused a traffic accident because of their DUI and they had to have a blood alcohol content (BAC) that was relatively low or somewhere around the legal limit of .08.
As time moved on, the Attorney General’s Office made the eligibility requirements for deferred sentencing narrower. This means that it is more rare for people to have their first time DUI charges dismissed. However, that does not mean that the Attorney General’s Office is asking that people be given jail time in every DUI case.
The Attorney General’s Office does not frequently request jail time for first offense DUIs. More often, prosecutors will ask for guilty pleas and probation conditions (including defensive driver classes, alcohol classes and Victim Impact Panels) in exchange for a sentence where a person does not receive any jail time.
However, even with an initial DUI offense, some people may be eligible for mandatory jail time in the event that they have a blood alcohol content (BAC) higher than a 0.20 or a urine alcohol content higher than a 0.25. Even if people in those situations have never been arrested, ticketed, or pulled over before, they face mandatory minimum jail time that a judge cannot suspend or replace with probation.