In January, we wrote about Tacoma City Councilman Ryan Mello who was arrested for a DUI after getting pulled over for driving erratically.
Last week, it was reported that Mello reached a plea deal with Kitsap County prosecutors that would allow him to avoid a criminal record. As part of the deal, Mello will have to attend a DUI victim's panel, get chemical dependency treatment, not drink and drive, and complete a six-hour defensive driving class, reports The News Tribune. Mello will also have to pay $900 in fees.
If Mello upholds his end of the deal, he will maintain a clean record. However, should he fail to hold up his end of the bargain, the councilman would be convicted of first-degree negligent driving, a misdemeanor.
From the beginning, Mello never denied driving drunk and took full responsibility and expressed contrition.
Given his attitude and clean history, Mello was able to get a fairly standard plea deal for someone arrested with a blood alcohol level just slightly above the legal limit, said the chief deputy prosecuting attorney for Kitsap County. Mello's blood alcohol level was between 0.088 and 0.09 at the time of arrest.
This agreement that was reached in Kitsap County is not a standard deal for someone accused of DUI in King County. I have not seen a case in years in King County where a person was able to get their DUI reduced to a traffic ticket when their breath or blood test was above the legal limit. A standard deal in King County District Courts would be getting a DUI charge amended to a lesser (criminal) offense of Reckless Driving or Negligent Driving.
This just goes to show how each DUI case is different and that similar cases will have varying results based on the jurisdiction and prosecuting agency.
If you or someone close to you is ever charged with DUI, you will want to talk to the experienced DUI defense attorneys at Wolff Criminal Defense. We can explain to you the charges and penalties you face, and can advise you on possible plea deals. Call us today at 425-284-2000 to schedule a free consultation.