What is an SOC (Stipulated Order of Continuance)?
In an SOC, the defendant enters into a contractual agreement with the prosecutor that is merely approved by the court. If the defendant follows his/her part of the bargain, the prosecution will move to dismiss the case at the end. But in some courts, the defendant or defense attorney usually must actively file a motion for that at the end of the SOC deferral period. Nobody has a right to an SOC; it must be negotiated successfully by the defense attorney. These negotiations can be difficult and often take months to finally get the prosecutors to agree, but I am only rarely denied an SOC for a client due to my relentless persistence and finely honed negotiating skills.
Not every case or client qualifies for this type of exceptionally favorable no-jail, no-sentencing, no-conviction (no conviction record) negotiated outcome. Felony charges are not eligible for SOC resolution, for example. Likewise, an SOC is not available usually for someone who previously got one (but I have gotten second SOCs several times for clients after extensive and persuasive negotiating). The biggest plus of an SOC disposition is that, at the end of the long continuance (with a usual duration of 18 or 24 months if the crime is DV, but sometimes as little as 6 or 12 months), and providing all conditions of the SOC agreement have been met, the entire case is dismissed, and dismissed with prejudice (meaning it cannot be refiled).
Each court has its own way of administering or monitoring SOCs, sometimes also calling them dispositional continuances or court-monitored deferrals (CMDs), but there are common requirements regardless of the specific court.
Domestic Violence and Batterers’ or Other Treatment is Required for almost all SOCs. Domestic Violence Perpetrator Treatment or Domestic Violence Intervention Treatment.
All SOCs, with rare exceptions for a few case types that are relatively not that serious, require the individual to undergo some form of treatment. So, successful completion of an SOC and the reward of dismissal will require participation in and completion of a state-approved domestic violence or batterer’s treatment program or mental-health treatment, or an anger management class. Health insurance, which almost always covers mental health and/or alcohol/drug (aka substance abuse) treatment, does not cover DV treatment.
In some cases, depending upon the court, the prosecutor and the input of the victim, the exact type and scope of treatment will be negotiated. I always try to get an agreement for the least amount of treatment possible, but something consistent with the particular client’s needs so they do not violate the SOC’s conditions or recidivate. This means that, if the prosecutor agrees, an SOC could be done by completing a far less stringent anger management program. Or possibly, you may be required to complete alcohol/drug counseling as an additional treatment adjunct, or as the only type of treatment, during the SOC.
But again, in a DV (Domestic Violence) case, usually the state and the court will require state-certified batterer’s treatment (aka DVIP) or the increasingly popular DV MRT program (6 months of weekly Zoom sessions using a workbook, with many of these programs done over Zoom – even though the Covid Pandemic is basically behind us).
Assault non-DV charges usually require only anger management and there are varying programs for that. We will review all of your treatment options before entering into an SOC. In a Theft 3 (shoplifting) charge, the treatment may consist only of completing some community service hours, and/or a Theft/Consumer Awareness Workshop). In other cases, psychological counseling and/or medical treatment for any medical or mental health conditions that arguably contributed to the alleged criminal act(s) might be required.
I have kept many hundreds of people out of jail using SOCs over the past 39 years in my practice. I look forward to discussing all possible resolutions with you, including SOC, but if you want to put on the gloves and go to trial to fight the government, we can explore that strategy instead. I will advise you on how I think you should proceed and what I see as being in your best interests. But, the decision in the end is always the client’s to make. I help you make it an informed and wise decision.
Attorney Phil Weinberg has over 30 years of experience defending those accused of criminal charges in Washington State. For a free, personalized consultation call (425) 806-7200 today.
Pursuing the Best Possible Result for Your Case
Don’t let a criminal charge negatively impact your future. I have defended against all types of criminal charges in Washington State for over 30 years; giving me intimate knowledge of how these crimes are prosecuted in our local courts.
Keeping a criminal conviction off your record is my primary goal. First and foremost, I will aggressively seek dismissal of your charges. Other defense options I will explore for your case include a deferred sentence, amendment to a lesser charge and Stipulated Order of Continuance (SOC). There is also the possibility you are eligible for a diversion program focusing on rehabilitation and education instead of punishment.
Call Attorney Phil Weinberg for help with your criminal charge.
As a skilled Criminal Defense Attorney, I will work closely with you as I pursue the best possible outcome for your criminal case in King and Snohomish counties. If you’re facing criminal charges in Bellevue, Everett, Lynnwood, Kirkland, Issaquah, Mercer Island, Seattle, Redmond, Kent, Federal Way, Woodinville, Monroe, Bothell, Edmonds, Mountlake Terrace, Shoreline, Marysville or Arlington; call me, Attorney Phil Weinberg, at (425) 806-7200 for a thorough initial consultation at no cost.