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10 Ways to Fight a DUI in Washington DC


Getting arrested for a DUI in Washington DC has always been a serious offense and with weed now legal in DC, it’s easier than ever! That’s right… Many people don’t even know that you can get a DUI for alcohol OR marijuana use!

However, getting arrested doesn’t mean you have already been convicted. Prosecutors have to prove you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, which can be challenging. In addition, there are ways to identify flaws in your DUI case or challenge the legality of the existing evidence. Keep reading to learn more.


In Washington, DC, it is forbidden to drive or be in physical control if the person is intoxicated or under the influence of any drug or combination of drugs and alcohol. However, there are different charges you may be facing:

  • DWI – driving while intoxicated;
  • DUI – driving under the influence.

In the District of Columbia, an individual is considered intoxicated if their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level is at least 0.08. So, DWI applies to individuals with a BAC of .08 or higher, which is statutorily prohibited. In court, the suspect can be convicted solely on the results of a breath test, blood test, or urine test. A structured field sobriety test is not necessary.

DUI, on the other hand, applies to those with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.07 percent or lower. Under DC Code, a driver can face charges of DUI if the officer detects impairment signs from a structured field sobriety test and observes questionable driving behavior, in addition to a BAC reading.


Penalties for DUI can range up to 180 days in jail and/or a $1,000.00 fine. Some offenses carry mandatory minimum jail time.

For example, a judge can impose a mandatory sentence of 10 days in jail if the driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) is over 0.20. As the BAC goes higher, so does the mandatory jail sentence. If the driver’s BAC is over 0.25, the sentence is 15 days in jail, and if it’s over 0.30, the driver may have to spend 20 days in jail.

Moreover, subsequent offenses carry harsher penalties. For example, DUI penalties for a second conviction include spending a minimum of 10 days in jail to a year and paying a fine of $2,500 to $5,000. After a third conviction for drunk driving, the defendant will have to spend at least 15 days in jail (up to a year) and pay a fine of $2,500 to $10,000.

Getting convicted of DUI can cause you to lose your driver’s license for 6 months to 1 year. There are also tons of other consequences for getting convicted of a DUI. These can include loss of security clearance, skyrocketing insurance premiums, and the social stigma of having a criminal conviction on your record.


Choosing a DUI lawyer can be extremely difficult especially if it’s the first time you have ever had to hire an attorney for a criminal case. There all lots of choices and lots of ads out there. Sorting through it all can be a daunting task. On top of all that, hiring a DUI lawyer will likely cost thousands of dollars. On top of that, hiring the wrong DUI lawyer can cost you even more than money—it can cost you your freedom.

Wouldn’t you like to have learned some of the potential strategies to challenge DUI cases in DC before speaking to a DUI attorney so you can have an informed discussion about how best to attack your case?

10 ways to fight a DUI in Washington, DC

1. Attack the results of the standardized field sobriety tests. They can be improperly administered and thus lead to compromised results.

2. File a motion to suppress statements made without Miranda rights being read. Many drivers make incriminating statements, such as admitting how much alcohol they consumed. That way, your DUI defense lawyer may get these statements suppressed.

3. Move to suppress all evidence. A police officer must have probable cause or reasonable suspicion for the stop. If there was no such reason, your DUI defense attorney may be able to exclude evidence collected from an unreasonable seizure.

4. Challenge the government’s discovery obligations to disclose material as well as exculpatory evidence. If a prosecutor fails to disclose such evidence, DUI case may be dismissed.

5. Pursue a dismissal for want of prosecution if an essential witness fails to appear for trial.

6. Question chemical scores using science-based criticisms since machines are not infallible.
Certain medical conditions can cause false breath test results. And even though blood tests are considered the most accurate type of test in DUI cases, strict procedures must be followed to avoid inaccurate results.

7. Utilize video evidence to show that the defendant was not intoxicated. Most DUI police officers wear body-worn cameras. If the defendant doesn’t seem intoxicated, they may be acquitted.

8. Impeach officers’ credibility by contradicting their testimony with other evidence.

9. Attack the quality of the government’s evidence with alternative explanations unrelated to intoxication.

10. Seek advice from a skilled DUI lawyer who will fight for your rights.


These are just some of the ways to fight an arrest and avoid a DUI conviction. There may be other options you can pursue, depending on the circumstances of your case.

Although some of these suggestions seem straightforward, fighting your DUI case without the help of a knowledgeable DUI defense lawyer is not recommended. Reach out to Christopher J. Mutimer of Scrofano Law and start developing an effective DUI defense.


Fill out the Form to Get our Free Guide: 10 Ways to Fight a DUI in Washington D.C. and find out if any of these strategies apply to your case!