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Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) in Washington, DC

In Washington, DC, if a driver with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of 0.08 grams or more is found to be operating a motor vehicle, they can be charged with Driving While Intoxicated (DWI). DC Code Section 50-2201.05(b) provides that the defendant can be sentenced to a fine of $300 and a maximum of 90 days in jail for a first offense.

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.


Blood Alcohol Level for Adult Drivers in Washington DC

In Washington, the blood alcohol level for adult drivers driving non-commercial vehicles is 0.08 percent within two hours of driving. Within two hours of driving, a BAC of 0.08 percent or more is considered evidence of a DUI because the human body breaks down and metabolizes alcohol.


Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) in Washington for Commercial Vehicle Drivers

In Washington’s DUI Laws, the legal BAC limit for commercial vehicle drivers is 0.04 percent and is applicable to individuals with commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs) driving tractors or other heavy vehicles. Because of the effectiveness a commercial vehicle needs for better and safe driving on the roads, the government has set a lower limit of BAC for commercial drivers.


BAC Level for Under 21

Drivers under the age of 21 have a BAC legal limit of 0.02 percent in Washington Law. If a police officer pulls you over at any spot and does a BAC test that shows 0.02 percent, you might get arrested. The Washington law has zero tolerance for impaired driving under the influence. So, if you have been charged with a DUI case in Washington state, consulting with an experienced DUI attorney might be of help.

Sustaining injuries due to someone else’s negligence can put you physically, financially, and emotionally in a tough spot. Consulting with personal injury attorneys might help you decide things better during these difficult times.


How your BAC is tested and calculated by the police in Washington, DC


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 Washington, 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 be experiencing symptoms of mild euphoria, joy, loss of inhibitions, and a decrease in concentration. When a person has a BAC 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. This is within the range where you could be charged with DWI in the District of Columbia.

As the BAC increases, so do the related medical issues. With a BAC of 0.20 to 0.29 grams which are in the range for mandatory jail time under DC law, research shows that you would be experiencing severe motor skills impairment, memory loss, and possible loss of consciousness. If you manage to stay on your feet, keep drinking, and reach a BAC of greater than 0.30 grams, death is quite possible.

The Washington, DC Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), US Parks Police, and US Capitol Police have various methods they use to attempt to calculate a driver’s BAC. They may use a breath alcohol testing machine (breathalyzer) such as the Intoxilyzer 5000 or the Intoximeter EC/IR II, blood testing, or urinalysis. They may also use the National Highway Traffic Safety Agency (NHTSA) standardized field sobriety tests to estimate your BAC.

Many people charged with a DUI or DWI believe that their BAC score is scientific evidence that cannot be challenged. This is not true. All methods of testing may be subject to one or more of the following errors:

  1. Improper laboratory calibration of breath testing machine
  2. Improper calibration of breathalyzer calibration by police at the MPD station
  3. Equipment error
  4. Operator or procedural error when breath testing or obtaining blood or urine samples
  5. Physiological or biological conditions of the defendant

With all of these potential problems with obtaining an accurate BAC, your Washington, DC DUI defense attorney can work with you to present the best possible case for a not guilty verdict that the facts or evidence will allow. If you have been charged with a drunk driving offense in the District of Columbia, contact the Scrofano Law, PC, for a consultation. Visa, MasterCard, and Discover are accepted.