A Seattle police officer who allegedly caused a multi-car crash in Mukilteo last year with a city of Seattle car may not serve any time in jail on a DUI charge.
Judge Tam Bui deferred a possible jail sentence today for narcotics officer John Fox in the Snohomish County District Court’s Everett branch on the condition that he comply with five years of probation. Fox is paying $1,500 for a deferred prosecution option that will put him on two years of active probation, which requires more check-ins, followed by three years of more loosely monitored probation, according to the court.
The maximum penalty Fox faces under the DUI charge is a $5,000 fine and a year in jail while the minimum is a two-day jail sentence, according to Fox’s attorney, Jon Scott Fox.
If Fox doesn’t comply with probation, he will be found automatically guilty without a jury trial, said his attorney. He also said his client qualified for the deferment, in part, because the judge determined he was suffering from alcoholism at the time of the crash and that he was making progress with a rehabilitation program he started shortly after the accident.
The prosecution deferment option for the DUI charges can only be used once, so Fox won’t be able to use it if convicted of another DUI, according to his attorney.
Fox, who was also charged with a DUI in 1994, still has suspended driving privileges for the first year after the accident because he refused to take a breathalyzer test after the collision. For at least the first year after his driving privileges are restored, he will have to use an ignition interlock device, or car breathalyzer, which measures blood alcohol content before the car will operate.
It’s still possible that Fox will pay for damages to people in three other cars involved in the October 2011 crash.