A King County Superior Court Judge has ruled on appeal that district court judges have the authority to give persons convicted of DUI a deferred sentence. The King County Prosecutor's Office had appealed the trial court's sentence after our client received a deferred sentence following a DUI trial. The Superior Court Judge agreed with our argument that the DUI sentencing law is confusing where it addresses a trial judge's discretion to impose a deferred sentence. In this situation a Court must interpret the law in a manner that favors the criminal defendant. In this case, the Superior Court Judge interpreted the law as providing trial judges the authority to enter a deferred sentence.
A deferred sentence is a rare type of sentence to receive on a DUI case. Once all conditions of sentence have been completed, the defendant can ask the judge to withdraw the guilty finding and dismiss the DUI charge completely. While this does not act as a “vacation” of the conviction, it is an amazing outcome to have our client's conviction dismissed after a lengthy trial process.