DUI charges can significantly impact your present and future driving privileges.
As a result, it is crucial that you have a skilled Washington DC DUI lawyer on your side to fight for reduced or even dismissed charges.
Attorney Raymond R. Jones is an aggressive and strategic lawyer who has been representing clients for 18 years.
He can help you build a strong defense against your DUI accusations and fight for you in court.
Is a DUI a Felony in DC?
Washington DC treats a DUI as a misdemeanor in the Superior Court traffic court division for a first-time offense.
However, a DUI may still have serious consequences, including suspension of a driver's license, high-risk or SR-22 insurance, court fees, and DMV fines.
Can a Lawyer Really Help With DUI?
Whenever you decide that you should take on an attorney for a DUI, it would be wise to know about a DUI conviction's penalties.
So hiring a DUI attorney can assist you in clearing your charges and beating your case.
Call (202) 640-2889 today to schedule your case evaluation and find out how we can help.
What Constitutes Driving or Operating Under the Influence?
Washington D.C. has a few different laws categorizing prohibited intoxicated driving:
- Operating while impaired by drugs or alcohol (OWI)
- Driving while intoxicated (DWI)
- Driving while under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol
It is also illegal to operate a watercraft or horse-drawn vehicle while impaired, but the penalties for these offenses are less severe.
Note that driving the vehicle (that is, the car was in motion) isn’t a requirement for any of the above three offenses; the motorist merely needs to be in “actual physical control” of the vehicle to be charged.
More specifically, an OWI conviction only requires proof that the driver’s ability to operate is notably affected by drugs or alcohol.
A DUI conviction needs evidence that the driver was less able to exercise the clear judgment necessary for the operation of a vehicle. Regarding DWI, the District of Columbia considers a person intoxicated if they have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or greater.
The threshold for blood alcohol concentration drops to .04% for commercial drivers and any measurable amount for drivers under 21 years old.
Jail Time, Fines, and License Revocation
The penalties for drunk or drugged driving, usually a combination of jail time and fines, are based on the severity of the offense and, primarily, on the number of prior DUI or DWI convictions within the last 15 years.
For a first-time DUI offense, a driver could face up to 180 days in jail and/or $1,000 in fines. A first-time lower-standard DWI offense will carry up to 90 days in jail and/or $500 in fines.
Second DUI offense carry ten days to 1 year in jail and/or $2,500-$5,000 in fines, and second DWI offenses are punishable by five days to 1 year in jail and/or $1,000-$2,500 in fines.
Lastly, third DUI offense could carry 15 days to 1 year in jail and/or $2,500-$10,000 in fines, and third DWI offenses could carry ten days to 1 year in jail and/or $1,000-$5,000 in fines.
In most cases, a second offense OWI, DWI, or DUI will also require the offender to complete an alcohol and drug evaluation and comply with any recommended treatment programs. In addition, any alcohol offense will also lead to a driver’s vehicle being impounded for 24 hours after the arrest.
In addition to the above penalties, a driver convicted of an OWI, DWI, or DUI could have their license restricted or even revoked.
The driver will likely be required to install and maintain an ignition interlock device (IID) for:
- 6 months for a first offense
- 1 year for a second offense
- 2 years for a third offense
A third offense that occurs within 5 years of the prior offenses will also result in a 5-year license revocation, and any offense that involves bodily injury, death, or a felony will result in permanent license revocation.
The District of Columbia also implemented an implied consent law that presumes all drivers have consented to a test of their breath, blood, or urine to determine the presence of alcohol or drugs at a police officer’s reasonable discretion.
A driver who unlawfully refuses a test will be subject to a 12-month driver’s license revocation.
This refusal can also be evidence against the driver in a DUI trial.
When minor passengers under 16 years of age are involved in an OWI, DWI, or DUI offense, the driver will receive an additional $500 to $1,000 fine and a mandatory five days in jail for each minor in the vehicle. The mandatory jail penalty becomes ten days per child if the children are not properly restrained.
A prosecutor can offer a diversion agreement instead of the conventional penalties in some instances.
A diversion agreement will allow the parties to make a contract where the driver completes a series of requirements (treatment, community service, and payment of fees) for the charges to be dismissed.
These sentences are likely the only alternative to harsh sentencing, as, unlike some other states, DC does not prohibit pleading down a DUI to a lesser offense like reckless driving.
If you are facing charges for driving under the influence or operating a vehicle while intoxicated or impaired, it is essential that you consult an attorney immediately for legal representation.
DUI arrests are common infractions, but they carry significant consequences that could impact your future driving privileges.
Our DUI lawyer in Washington DC can look at your situation and help you strategize an effective defense to argue for mitigated or even dismissed charges, depending on your criminal history.
A DUI charge is less daunting with the Law Offices of Raymond R. Jones on your side. Call (202) 640-2889 or contact the firm online to plan your next steps in the legal process.
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