After the officer has determined that there is probable cause to make a drunk driving arrest, he will place you in handcuffs and take you to the station. At the station, the police will test your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) by using a breathalyzer or urine sample. At the time this post was written, the police in Washington, DC have had so much trouble with their breath testing program involving DUIs, it will most likely be a urine test. At this point, you will probably be booked and released with a date to return to court in hand and given an Official Notice of Proposed Suspension of your driver’s license.
In order to protect your rights, you should speak with a Washington, DC DWI lawyer as soon as possible. After choosing an attorney, the next step is contact the DC DMV to schedule an administrative hearing. This is very important and must be done within the time frame permitted if you want any chance of keeping your driver’s license.
The next step is your first court date. You will discuss the specifics with your lawyer but here are some potential outcomes and penalties:
- Deferred Sentencing Agreement (DSA) – In Washington, DC, if you are charged with a first offense DUI or DWI and have no other criminal record, and had a BAC of below 0.01 grams per milliliter, you may be able to get a DSA. This means that you will plead guilty and be placed on probation. If you complete the probation without any new charges, the drunk driving charge will be dismissed, and you will not have a conviction on your record.
- BAC of less than 0.20 grams per milliliter – A maximum of 90 days and and/or a $300 fine. Your sentence may be suspended so that you are not required to actually serve any time.
- BAC of more than 0.20 grams per milliliter and less than 0.25 grams – A maximum of 90 days and and/or a $300 fine. You must serve at least five days in jail upon conviction.
- BAC higher than 0.24 grams per milliliter of blood – A maximum of 90 days and and/or a $300 fine. You must serve at least 10 days in jail if convicted.
- Always remember that an arrest is not a conviction.