DUI Washington DC
Understanding the Court Process for DUI in Washington D.C.
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a serious criminal offense in Washington, D.C., that carries some of the worst consequences for those convicted. It is the only misdemeanor in DC that, under certain factual scenarios, can carry mandatory minimum jail time.
DUI and DWI charges in DC involve both a criminal case at the Traffic Division of the DC Superior Court and an administrative hearing at the District of Columbia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The court case will determine if you are convicted of the drunk driving charge on which you were arrested and any potential punishment such as jail, fines, community service, etc.
The DMV hearing will determine whether you would lose your license, be required to get high-risk insurance (SR-22), or pay any fines.
Fighting DUI Charges
The government will use different evidence to prove that the individual charged with a DUI offense is guilty. Common evidence includes testimony from a police officer who pulled over the driver and results from breath, blood, or urine chemical tests.
Since you have a short time window to contest your suspended license, you must call a DC DUI defense attorney as soon as you are notified about your charges. Your Washington, DC DUI lawyer from Scrofano Law PC, Christopher J. Mutimer, offers a comprehensive defense to anyone facing DUI charges in this state.
By representing you at the DMV hearing, your attorney can not only fight the suspension of your driving privileges but will also have the opportunity to see what the government is going to try and use against you in criminal court.
Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) Washington DC
Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) measures how much alcohol is in a person’s blood and is expressed as grams per 100 milliliters of blood.
A sober person who is legally safe to drive a vehicle in DC would have a BAC of 0.00 grams per 100 milliliters of blood. According to scientific studies, a person with a BAC reading of between 0.039 and 0.059 would experience symptoms of mild euphoria, joy, loss of inhibitions, and a decrease in concentration.
When a person has blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) of between 0.06 and 0.09 grams, they should be experiencing blunted reflexes, reasoning problems, depth perception issues, loss of peripheral vision, and problems recovering from glare. That is within the rage where you could be charged with DWI in DC.
If a driver with a BAC of 0.08 grams or more is found to be operating a motor vehicle, they can be charged with Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) in DC. DC Code Section 50-2201.05(b) provides that for a first offense, the defendant can be sentenced to a fine of $300 and a maximum of 90 days in jail.
If the defendant had a BAC of 0.20 grams or higher, there is a mandatory minimum of five days in jail. If the defendant’s BAC was higher than 0.25 grams, there is an additional ten days of mandatory jail time.
A DC DUI Defense Attorney Can Help You With Your DUI Conviction
Many people charged with a DUI or DWI believe that a person’s alcohol concentration score is scientific evidence that cannot be challenged. But, all methods of testing may be subject to several errors.
There are many potential problems regarding the BAC and the law in DC, and our DC criminal defense lawyers can work with you to present the best possible case if you are facing a DUI conviction.
Even if you are charged for this offense for the first time, you could face jail time and other severe consequences. Don’t risk your future! If you or your loved one have been accused of DUI or DWI in DC or the surrounding area, let our experienced DUI attorneys give you the aggressive defense you need.
What to Know About Checkpoints for DUI in DC
The Code and city regulations allow the police to set up drunk driving checkpoints within the District of Columbia.
A DUI checkpoint is when the police set up a roadblock and randomly stop cars to perform a sobriety check on the driver. DUI checkpoints are usually set up in locations and at times when there a likely to be a greater number of drunk drivers on the roads, such as just after the bars and nightclubs close.
Normally, the police must have probable cause to stop a driver on suspicion of drunk driving. That may involve weaving, driving erratically, failure to obey posted signs or traffic lights, or other similar behavior. In the case of a sobriety checkpoint, the police are allowed to pull over drivers who are driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs without probable cause.
However, the law requires that the police create a standardized operating procedure and follow that procedure at all times while operating the checkpoint.
If you have been pulled over at a sobriety checkpoint, you performed poorly on a field sobriety test, and have been charged with DUI or some other DC criminal offense in Washington D.C.; your lawyer may be able to challenge the operation of the checkpoint in court and possibly get these charges dropped.
DUI DC First Offense
DC doesn’t have a felony DUI. DWI or DUI is a misdemeanor handled in the traffic court division of the Superior Court. But, even if you are charged for this offense for the first time, there still might be consequences such as loss of driver’s license, high-risk or SR-22 insurance, court costs, and DMV fines, among others.
The maximum penalty for a first-time DUI is 180 days in jail and $1,000 in fines. If the accused decides to go to trial, they do not have a right to a jury trial. It would be the judge who would decide whether the first-time offender is guilty or not.
The government does not usually seek harsh penalties for first-time DUI offenders. However, that can change if DUI occurs together with other criminal offenses such as resisting arrest or being involved in a crash where people get hurt.
How DC Courts Treat Second and Third DUI Offenses
If someone has a prior DUI conviction for driving while under the influence of alcohol within the last 15 years, these cases would be looked at more seriously.
For a second time, the maximum penalties for DUI regarding jail time raise from 180 days to one year of jail time. When it comes to fines, they can get up to $5,000. This offense also includes ten days of mandatory jail time.
If the driver’s blood alcohol concentration were above legal limits while driving a motor vehicle for the third time within 15 years or less, they would be facing a third consecutive DUI offense. This offense is treated very seriously by the courts and prosecuted vigorously.
DC DUI penalties for a third conviction can include 15 days of mandatory jail time, fines of up to $10,000, deferred sentencing agreement, and installment of an ignition interlock device. This individual will also face mandatory revocation of his or her driver’s license for two years.
DC DUI law firm, Scrofano Law PC, can help you with your DUI charge. Our DC criminal defense firm is prepared to defend you in a variety of criminal and traffic offense practice areas, including traffic violations, underage drinking, as well as assault, fake ID charges, expungement, and other criminal offense cases.
What DUI Classes in Washington DC Can You Attend?
If you wonder if a DC DUI conviction can be expunged, bear in mind that driving under the influence (DUI) and driving while intoxicated (DWI) are considered ineligible misdemeanors and thus can not be expunged.
If you were arrested for driving under the influence in DC but not convicted, you might have the right to have your record sealed from the public under DC DUI laws.
One way to do that is to prove you did not commit the crime for which you got arrested, and the other is to wait a certain number of years before making a request for expungement. Drunk driving charges may only be sealed after four years from the date of dismissal.
There are different drunk driving classes in DC, each fulfilling a different requirement that judges might ask from a defendant.
The traffic alcohol program, the traffic safety program, as well as the victim impact panel, are almost universally imposed on those who are convicted of drunk driving in DC. DUI schools are mandatory, and if the judge orders you to complete one or more of those classes, you must adhere to them.
How a DC DUI Lawyer Can Help With Your DUI Offense
A DUI charge is always serious whether it’s your first offense or you have prior alcohol-related offenses or any other controlled substance. The potential consequences of a conviction can be life-changing.
That’s why it’s important to have an experienced DUI lawyer by your side who can help you navigate the criminal justice system and defend your rights.
A seasoned attorney knows how to challenge the evidence against you and build a strong defense. They may also negotiate with prosecutors and get your charges reduced or dismissed.
If you’ve been charged with DUI in DC, don’t hesitate to contact Scrofano Law, PC today to establish an attorney-client relationship. Our skilled and knowledgeable team is ready to fight for you. Schedule a free no-obligation consultation by calling us at 202-630-0949 or by filling out our online form.