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D.C. Holiday DUI Enforcement in High Gear

by | Nov 5, 2012

Halloween is typically when law enforcement agencies work hard to kick their DUI enforcement into high gear.

D.C. DUI lawyers know that will be especially true here, as Metro Police Department officers are now not only working with breathalyzers again for the first time in two years, but they have the benefit of enhanced DUI laws passed earlier this summer.

Roughly 2,000 people a year are arrested for DUI in D.C., according to WJLA-TV, and many of those are arrested within the last few months of the year.

The penalties have been increased since this summer, with fines for a first-time offense going from $300 to $1,000 and potential jail time doubling from 90 days up to 180 days. You’ll also get an additional $1,000 fine and a mandatory 5 days in jail if there is a child in the car with you.

Police enforcement tactics are going to include a variety of operations, including DUI sobriety checkpoints, saturation patrols and strategically positioning officers in late-night entertainment districts.

Obviously, the best way to insulate yourself from the threat of arrest for DUI is not to drink at all before getting behind the wheel.

However, that’s not entirely realistic as many people are out celebrating various festivities and annual rituals with family, friends, co-workers and other loved ones. It’s not illegal to have a drink before driving, but the key is whether you cross the threshold into legal intoxication. Most people are poor judges of themselves in this regard.

A former police officer for a department in Tennessee, named Tim Stone, has publicly said he is not a fan of drinking and driving, but he also believes that the breathalyzer test is an unfair measure of drunkenness. He made headlines earlier this year when he went against his department in saying it takes away an officer’s discretion, and he released a video detailing how to avoid a DUI.

Despite the subsequent outcry from organizations like Mothers Against Drunk Driving, his advice is worth considering.

First and foremost, he advises that if you are pulled over, you must remain calm. The officer is going to be on alert when he or she approaches your vehicle. Do your best to relax and put them at ease by rolling down your window, keeping your hands on the steering wheel, answering questions politely and not making any sudden movements.

If you have been drinking, one of the first signs to the officer is your breath. You may not be able to avoid this entirely, but if you can speak to the officer with your head at a slight angle, while still looking him or her in the eye, you may be able to make it less obvious.

What about submitting to a breathalyzer? As we’ve always said, you have to understand that there are consequences to refusal. However, if you have a pretty good idea that you’re over the limit, in many cases, submitting will simply mean you are providing evidence against yourself.

If you are arrested for DUI, you should remain calm, make no statement whatsoever to police, except to ask to speak to an attorney. Period.

If you are facing DUI charges in D.C., contact the Scrofano Law, PC for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights or fill out our online contact form. Visa, Mastercard and Discover cards accepted. Call 202-765-3175.