Washington, DC DUI and DWI charges 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 lose your license, are required to get high-risk insurance (SR-22), and any fines.
Your Washington, DC DUI attorney at Scrofano Law PC offers a comprehensive defense to anyone facing drunk driving charges in Washington, DC. 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 see what the government is going to try and use against you in criminal court.
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 Driving While Intoxicated (DWI). 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 10 days of mandatory jail time.
BAC is a measure of 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. 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 according to scientific studies. 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 rage where you could be charged with DWI in the District of Columbia.
The Washington, DC 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 will set up a roadblock and randomly stop cars to perform a sobriety check on the driver. In Washington, DC, the 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. This 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. The MDP will decide beforehand to pull over every nth vehicle. For example, they may decide to pull over every 5th vehicle to perform a sobriety check. This means that they will pull over one car, perform a check, let four more cars pass through the checkpoint, and pull over the 5th car.