As the prison population in Washington State has become increasingly overcrowded, voters and lawmakers have begun to reshape the way they view our criminal justice system. Most people agree that certain egregious crimes, especially acts of violence, warrant long prison sentences. But what about non-violent crimes committed by drug users who simply need professional help? Thanks to the Drug Offender Sentencing Alternative, incarcerated offenders who need treatment for a substance abuse disorder can serve less time in prison in exchange for completing a drug rehabilitation program. An experienced drug crime defense lawyer can help offenders get approved for chemical-dependency treatment as a substitute for prison time.
What Is the Drug Offender Sentencing Alternative (DOSA)?
Established by Washington State lawmakers in 1995, DOSA is a state-funded chemical dependency treatment program for felony offenders, which can be substituted for incarceration. In other words, DOSA is a potential alternative to prison time, for those who are eligible. In many cases, a skilled drug crime defense lawyer may be needed to get approved for DOSA. The DOSA program is divided into two categories: prison-based and residential.
What’s the Difference Between Prison-Based & Residential DOSA?
Prison-based DOSA programs require the offender to serve the first half of their sentence in prison (with treatment), with the second half served on community custody, probation, etc. with mandatory treatment at a court-approved rehabilitation center. Residential DOSA, on the other hand, allows offenders to spend no time in prison at all — instead, they are required to serve their time in inpatient treatment at a court-approved rehab facility. Vindicate Law’s seasoned criminal defense attorneys are well-versed in drug crimes and can help you with legal matters.
Who Is Eligible for Prison-Based DOSA?
Prison-based DOSA is not available to all offenders who struggle with a substance abuse disorder. In order to be eligible for prison-based DOSA, you must meet the following criteria:
- No Current or Prior Convictions for Violent Crimes or Sex Offenses in Last 10 Years
- No Current Convictions for a Felony DWI Offense
- No Sentencing Enhancements (conspiracy, solicitation, criminal attempt, etc.)
- No Deportation Orders
- No DOSA Sentences in the Past 10 Years
Who Is Eligible for Residential DOSA?
In order to be considered eligible for residential DOSA, you must first meet all of the requirements for prison-based DOSA. Additionally, you must meet the following requirements regarding the length of your prison sentence:
- The High End of Your Standard Sentence Range Must Be Greater Than One Year
- The Midpoint of Your Standard Sentence Range Must Be Two Years or Less
For help determining if you are eligible for prison-based or residential DOSA, you should hire a criminal defense lawyer with experience handling cases involving drug crimes.
How to Get Into DOSA Instead of Serving Your Full Sentence
DOSA is the preferable option for many individuals who are facing prison time — however, the decision is ultimately up to the judge who is in charge of your case. If the judge does not offer DOSA as an alternative to incarceration, you should ask your drug crime defense attorney to inquire about a deferred prosecution program for you. Our experienced drug crime defense lawyers here at Vindicate Law will do everything we can to get you into a DOSA program.
Contact Vindicate Law Today for Help Getting Into DOSA
For help being placed in a residential DOSA program instead of a prison cell, enlist the legal services of Vindicate Law’s first-rate drug crime defense attorneys. Contact us today to consult with a legal expert about your case.