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Your Guide to DC Dui Victim Impact Panels

by | May 23, 2011

What Are the DUI Victim Panels?


In conference centers around the country, victims and those convicted of driving drunk are brought together to discuss the effects of drunk driving at Victim Impact Panels. DUI Victim Panels are groups of people who have been injured or killed by drunk drivers. They are convened to educate, inform, and inspire communities to take action against drunk driving.

The DUI Victim Panels in Washington DC provide a forum for victims of drunk driving to share their stories and experiences with the public to raise awareness about the dangers of driving while impaired. It also provides a deterrent as a penalty for some violent crimes.

The victim impact panels are a form of restorative justice in which the victim meets with the offender to tell their story and offer an opportunity for the offender to apologize.

If you are required to attend a victim impact panel as one of your DUI conviction consequences, a DUI Washington DC lawyer may be able to help prepare for any phase of your DUI case.


How Effective Are DUI Victim Impact Panels in DC?


The DUI Victim Impact Panel program in DC is a form of restorative justice. The panels help victims and offenders understand the consequences of their actions and provide a forum for both parties to express their feelings in an effort to achieve closure.

The effectiveness of conducting victim impact panels is debatable. They may likely be effective at reducing recidivism rates in some cases, primarily when used in conjunction with a traffic safety program.


Is a DWI a Felony in Washington DC?

In the District of Columbia, a DWI is not a felony. A person will be charged with a misdemeanor DWI if they are found to have a blood alcohol content of .08% or higher and/or refused to take the breathalyzer test.

A drunk driver who is convicted of a misdemeanor DWI will be punished with any combination of the following:

  • Jail time of up to 180 days

  • Fines of up to $1,000

  • Probation of up to two years

People who are convicted of felony DWI for a second or third time in 10 years will be punished accordingly.

Many people find hiring a dedicated DC DUI lawyer to be a valuable part of the process. Building a strong attorney-client relationship with a law firm like Scrofano Law can provide ongoing support throughout the legal process.


Where Are the DC DUI Victim Impact Panels?


The victim impact panels in Washington D.C. are meant to provide an opportunity for victims of a DUI to tell their stories and get and receive emotional support. The panels are supposed to be a way to make sure that the victims feel heard and that the person charged or convicted understands the consequences of their actions.

DC DUI Victim Impact Panels are not mandatory for those charged with or convicted of DUI. In fact, most people are unaware of these panels unless they are told about them by friends or family members. You can get information and guidance from a skilled DUI lawyer.


How Long Are DC DUI Victim Impact Panels?


It’s not always easy to determine how long DC DUI Victim Impact Panels are. The length of DC DUI Victim Impact Panels varies depending on the number of people attending, the size of the room or number of office spaces, and how many people speak at a time.

They are typically held for between 45 minutes and one hour. A knowledgeable attorney can offer advice and information to an arrested person facing a probationary period, community service, or any other requirement imposed.


What Crimes Use Victim Impact Panels?


A victim impact panel is a meeting or presentation that is designed to help the victim and their loved ones understand the impact of crime. This type of panel can be used for a variety of crimes, that include but are not limited to the following:

  • Domestic violence

  • Sexual assault 

  • Child abuse

In these panels, victims discuss their experience with crime and how it affected them. After they share their stories, other experts in the field discuss how to prevent future crimes. The goal is for people who have been impacted by crime to be able to speak about it openly.


When Are DUI Victim Impact Panels Used in DC?


DUI Victim Impact Panels are used when a person has been convicted of driving under the influence in the District of Columbia. Victim Impact Panels can be a valuable part of the negotiations for sentencing. They can be an incentive for the prosecution to accept a reduction in penalties or even a dismissal of the charges because they show that the offender is remorseful.

A DC attorney like Christopher J Mutimer will aggressively fight for the rights of his clients. Contact Scrofano Law to schedule an initial consultation.


Should You Consult With a Defense Attorney?

Developing a solid attorney-client relationship with a reputable defense attorney may provide ongoing support if you have been accused of impaired driving. Having professional advice and representation may grant you the best possibility of a more lenient sentence that includes a traffic alcohol program or inclusion in a victim impact panel rather than prison time.

An experienced DUI lawyer from Scrofano Law may be able to help you get reduced penalties. Contact us for a free consultation regarding your DUI case.