How a DC DUI Conviction Can Impact Your Driving Ability
Attorneys from Scrofano Law P.C. can explain how a DC DUI conviction can impact your driving ability. They can offer additional info and advice, so call today!
How Does a DC DUI Conviction Affect Your Driving Privileges?
If convicted of drunk driving or driving under the influence, you could face several DC DUI penalties, including possible jail time. The DC Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will also revoke your driver’s license for some time in addition to any other penalty the court issues.
Once this happens, you’ll be unable to drive or operate a motor vehicle in DC even after you’ve completed your sentence. You’ll need to complete the complex DMV process for license reinstatement before your driving privileges can be restored.
As such, if you’re facing DUI charges in DC, it is important that you fight the charges against you and try to avoid a conviction as much as possible or risk losing your driving privileges.
The information provided here can help you understand how DC DUI charges work as you prepare your defense. Read on to learn more.
What Happens After a DC DUI Conviction?
Under the Code of the District of Columbia, you could face several criminal law penalties if convicted of a DUI offense. The severity of your punishment may vary depending on several factors, including whether you have a prior DUI conviction and the level of alcohol or drugs found in your system.
For example, the consequences of a first-time DUI offense include a maximum jail time of 180 days and a fine of up to $1,000. However, if the convicted driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) was found to be at least 0.20 grams after a blood test or 0.25 grams after a urine test, the judge will impose a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 days in jail. The duration of the mandatory minimum jail time increases if the driver’s BAC is higher.
A second DUI offense committed within 15 years of the first DUI violation can result in fines between $2,500 to $5,000 and up to one year in jail. The minimum jail time here is at least ten days, provided no other aggravating factors exist. At the same time, the convicted individual’s driver’s license will be revoked for a year.
After two prior convictions within five years, the court can order your driver’s license or privilege to operate a vehicle within the district revoked. If that happens, you’ll be unable to drive in DC even after you may have served other parts of your sentence. You can only apply for a license reinstatement after five years.
Administrative Penalties Issued By the District of Columbia DMV
After a DUI conviction, the driver will also face the consequences imposed by the DC DMV, in addition to any other criminal penalty imposed after the court case.
The DC DMV is responsible for issuing driver’s licenses and can revoke a person’s driving privileges when appropriate using the District of Columbia’s Driver Point System.
Under the point system, drivers who violate driving laws accumulate a fixed number of points on their driver records, depending on the nature of the violation. Generally, they serve as a warning to drivers of the risk of possible license suspension or revocation. Once a driver has up to 10 points, their license is suspended, and they lose their driving privileges for 90 days.
A driver with 12 points or more will have their license revoked and lose their driving privileges until the DMV reinstates the license, usually after six months. A first-time DUI conviction automatically gives you 12 points on your driver’s record, meaning your license will be revoked until you go through the DMV reinstatement process after six months. You’ll also need to retake the driving test before your license is reissued.
Like the criminal law penalties, the DMV penalties are more severe with each subsequent DUI. In some cases, especially if you’re a commercial driver, you could lose your commercial driving license for life as a prior offender.
What Can I Do if My License Is Revoked After a DUI Conviction?
If your driver’s license is revoked or suspended after a DUI, you are not allowed to use that license until the DMV reinstates your driving privileges. Otherwise, you could face jail time for up to a year and a fine of up to $5000.
You can begin the reinstatement process by submitting a written application to the DMV after the mandatory revocation period. You’ll need to include proof that you’ve completed a state-certified alcohol/drug counseling program before sending in your application.
Once the DMV receives your application, a hearing examiner will review and decide on it based on the relevant DC laws. You’ll be notified of the examiner’s decision in writing.
Since the reinstatement process is mainly paper-based, all the necessary documents must be in order and free of any omissions or errors to avoid a denial. You may need to seek help from an experienced DC DUI lawyer to help ensure that your application is in order and improve your chances with the examiner.
What Are the Long-Term Consequences of a DC DUI Conviction?
In most cases, the suspension or revocation of your driving privileges after a DUI conviction is temporary. However, the effects of the criminal conviction last for a long time beyond any criminal or administrative penalty.
A conviction becomes part of your criminal history, appearing on criminal background checks and driving record checks conducted by potential employers and other third parties. This could affect your access to opportunities you may ordinarily qualify for.
Also, the points you accumulate on your DC driving record after a DUI conviction may remain for up to two years. So even after your license is reinstated, the points remain until you go through the DMV points removal process. Until then, you’re in danger of getting your license revoked even for minor traffic violations since you have already accumulated many points from your conviction.
How Can a DC DUI Lawyer Help?
If you are dealing with a DUI charge and hope to avoid a DUI conviction and its attendant consequences, it is important that you seek professional help from an experienced DUI attorney.
With their knowledge of the relevant DUI laws, your attorney can help your case by representing you in court and working to discredit the prosecution’s case against you.
In some cases, your criminal defense lawyer may be able to arrange a deferred sentencing or prosecution agreement on your behalf, especially if you’re a first-time offender under the DC DUI diversion programs. In such instances, you might be able to avoid a conviction if you complete a substance or alcohol education class and meet any other conditions by the authorities.
If you need to participate in a DMV hearing to regain your driving privileges, your attorney can represent you and work to convince the DMV that you qualify for a reinstatement using all available legal resources and strategies.
Get Help With Your DC DUI at Scrofano Law, PC
If you have questions about your DC DUI case or regaining your driving privileges contact us at Scrofano Law. Our skilled DC DUI attorney Christopher J. Mutimer can answer your questions and defend you each step of the way.
We also have thriving criminal defense and DUI law practice in Virginia and can help you understand DUI-related concepts such as DWI vs DUI VA: differences between offenses. We are dedicated to helping you get a positive outcome after your DUI trial or license revocation at all our locations, so do not hesitate to contact us for help with your DUI case.
NEED AN ATTORNEY?
We Fight For Your Rights