Alternative Sentencing Options for DUI Offenders

The alternatives to jail time for a DUI include house arrest, the innovative 24/7 Sobriety Program, and the Ignition Interlock Device (IID). Additionally, some folks may be eligible for deferred prosecution or community service. These options can decrease the time someone spends in jail or, in some cases, mean they don’t have to do so at all. A skilled attorney can help people understand the eligibility criteria for these programs and help them apply.  

If you’re facing a DUI charge, it’s essential to be as prepared as possible for the legal journey ahead of you. At Veitch Ault Defense, we provide personalized and pointed advocacy to those facing serious charges, such as DUIs. Our Washington State DUI attorney has 20 years of experience fighting for the criminally accused. Because of his tireless efforts, he has gotten dozens of breathalyzer test results thrown out, resulting in case dismissals or charge reductions. 

What Are the Alternatives to Jail Time for DUI Offenders? 

Washington law gives some people options for carrying out their sentence instead of automatically requiring everyone to go to jail. For example, some folks may be sentenced to house arrest, which requires them to wear a monitoring device. But a 24/7 Sobriety Program or deferred prosecution program may be appropriate in other circumstances. Lastly, an Ignition Interlock Device or community service regimen may be the preferred route instead of or in addition to a jail sentence. 

House Arrest

House arrest requires the defendant to serve their sentence in the confinement of their home. In some cases, the judge may order this in place of jail time in Washington. The sentence, however, may not be a day-for-day exchange. The state’s minimum house arrest sentence is 15 days. First-time offenders often avoid jail time by serving 15 days under house arrest – or by serving 90 days in the 24/7 sobriety program. Those with multiple or more serious DUI offenses on their record may be ineligible to have some or all of their jail sentence converted to home detention. 

24/7 Sobriety Program

Washington also has a 24/7 sobriety program that involves on-site alcohol testing twice a day along with round-the-clock alcohol monitoring via electronic bracelet. This isn’t a treatment program but is, instead, a means of ensuring that participants remain sober and adhere to court-ordered practices. 

Ignition Interlock Requirement

A common requirement associated with sentencing in Washington State is installing an ignition interlock device in all vehicles you drive. This may require you to pass a breathalyzer test before starting your vehicle. Often, courts ask people to use this device in addition to serving a regular sentence (e.g., jail time).  

Deferred Prosecution

The deferred prosecution program encourages those with issues related to alcohol abuse or addiction to seek the treatment they need. Instead of punishing these individuals for having conditions, they provide a pathway for them to participate in treatment. Deferred prosecution may be available if the person meets the strict eligibility requirements. For example, the DUI charge must not be for a felony, and the person must admit guilt and waive essential rights. 

If the court grants deferment, the accused must successfully follow the deferred prosecution plan. Often, this involves the person participating in alcohol abuse counseling or paying restitution to the victim. Additionally, they can’t pick up any other charges during the deferment period. 

Deferment prosecution plans typically last several years and may result in the court dismissing the original charge. Failure to carefully follow the requirements set forth by the court can lead to the court revoking the deferment plan. This may also involve the prosecution reinstating the original DUI charges against the individual. A King County DUI defense attorney helps people understand if deferred prosecution makes sense for their situation. 

DUI Community Service

Another component of many DUI diversion programs is court-ordered community service. Participation requirements generally include involvement in a range of community service options for a minimum number of hours. In some cases, community service is something the person does after they complete the rest of their sentence. 

How Does an Ignition Interlock Program Work as an Alternative Sentence?

When it comes to DUI sentencing options, judges in Washington State can require defendants to have ignition interlock devices installed in the vehicles they drive. This is typically just one of several alternative options implemented. 

An ignition interlock device is an instrument the driver must blow into before their vehicle can start. The tool measures blood alcohol content (BAC), and it only allows the motorist to drive if their reading is below the set limit. 

The ignition interlock requirement for a first DUI offense is usually at least a year. For a second offense, the minimum increases to 5 years; for a third or subsequent offense, the requirement is at least 10 years.

What Are the Eligibility Criteria for Alternative Sentencing?

You may need to meet a host of eligibility requirements to receive an alternative to jail time for a DUI conviction. Judges have considerable discretion when it comes to sentencing. That said, there are minimum jail-stay requirements for some DUI charges that they need to follow. Factors that can play a role in whether you may be eligible for alternative sentencing include the following:

  • If you have a criminal history,
  • If your BAC was incredibly high,
  • If you had a child passenger in the car with you,
  • If you got a ticket as a result of an accident,
  • If anyone was seriously harmed in the DUI-related accident, and 
  • Whether you cooperated with the police at the time of your arrest.

The bottom line is that your DUI charge is unique to the circumstances involved, and whether you’re eligible for an alternative sentencing option depends on a range of variables. Working closely with a seasoned DUI attorney from the start can help you obtain a favorable case resolution. 

Veitch Ault Defense: We Can Help You Explore Alternative DUI Sentencing Options in Washington State 

If you’re facing a DUI charge, your primary goal is beating it, but if you’re unlikely to avoid a conviction, staying out of jail is almost certainly your focus. Washington State has alternative sentencing options, such as home detention, 24/7 sobriety programs, and deferred prosecution. A skilled attorney can investigate your situation and counsel you on what options are available to you in your unique circumstances.  

The formidable DUI attorneys at Veitch Ault Defense – proudly serving Washington State – have an impressive track record for skillfully defending their clients while keeping them out of jail, and we’re standing by to help you, too. Robert J Ault pours his heart and soul into fighting for clients. His philosophy is that anything worth doing is worth doing well. Past clients appreciate his honesty, compassion, and unwavering dedication to helping them feel supported throughout the legal process. 

If you’re facing a DUI and have questions about alternative sentencing options, contact us today by calling 425-332-1792 to schedule your no-obligation consultation. 


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