According to a recent story in the Washington Post, the director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Harley Lappin, was charged with a DUI in the Washington, DC metro area. Police are reporting that Lappin was pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving after almost hitting a speed enforcement trailer parked on the side of the road. He allegedly had bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, and smelled like alcohol. Police administered standardized field sobriety tests and he was unable to maintain his balance during the one legged stand test, and was unable to walk in a straight line during the walk and turn test. Lappin has announced his intentions to retire as head of the agency and is claiming that the decision was made months ago. There was no mention of his pending DUI charges.
Unless you are a public official, being charged with a crime like drunk driving, is not as bad as being convicted. There is a lot that can be done to prevent a conviction. A related question commonly asked of Washington, DC DUI defense attorneys is “what is a DSA?” A deferred sentencing agreement (DSA) in the District of Columbia is a where the defendant agrees to plead guilty to the criminal charges and be placed on probation for a set period of time. If the defendant fully complies with the terms of his or her probation, the government will dismiss the charges. Officially, this dismissal is called a “nolle prosequi” or more commonly, a “nolle pros.”
In order to get a DSA in a DUI case, your DC defense attorney must ask for one at the first possible opportunity. The prosecution is not required to agree to a DSA. It is considered a discretionary program. As of the time of this entry, the DC Office of Attorney General (OAG), will agree to a DSA on DWI, DUI, or OWI charges if is a first offense, there was no personal injury or property damage, the breathalyzer or urine test results indicated a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of less than 0.10 grams, and the defendant was not rude or abusive to arresting officers. If you can meet these conditions, a DSA in Washington, DC may be available.