D.C. Criminal Defense Attorney Legal Blog

Friday, April 18, 2014

D.C. DUI law Overview – Penalties & Mandatory Minimums

The District of Columbia is no slouch when it comes to DUI enforcement, in fact some may say the DUI laws in D.C. are very strict.

Our DUI defense attorney in D.C. knows that being charged with a DUI in the District of Columbia can be a frightening experience. The truth is that law enforcement officers may abuse their positions of power and trick a driver into doing and saying things that will lead to their arrest and even hurt their case at trial.

It is important to know that a police officer must act within certain boundaries prior to pulling a suspected drunk driver over and throughout the stop.

Aside from remaining silent and asking for an attorney you should be aware of the penalties involved with a drunk driving conviction.

In general, a driver who is impaired and/or has a blood alcohol content (BAC) of more than .08 can be convicted of drunk driving in the District of Columbia. Sometimes a driver may feel sober but this will not make a difference if that individual does not perform standardized field sobriety tests to the police officer’s satisfaction.

One specific aspect of the DUI statute in D.C. is known as implied consent. Under implied consent laws any person who is driving in the District of Columbia is required to submit to two forms of chemical testing for BAC levels.

If a driver in D.C. refuses to submit to chemical testing they can be charged with what is called DUI Refusal. Under the D.C. Code a driver who is charged with refusal may face a presumption that they were intoxicated while driving and that was the reason they refused the test.

The D.C. DUI statute punishes repeat DUI offenders more harshly with each offense. Furthermore, a driver with a higher BAC may be more severely punished by D.C. than a driver who is just barely over the limit.

In fact, the D.C. DUI laws also include mandatory minimum jail time of 10 days for first time offenders with a BAC greater than .20. The mandatory minimum jail time increases to 15 days and then 20 for individuals with BACs of .25 and .30 respectively.

The penalties for a DUI conviction can be enhanced through other aggravating circumstances as well including:

  • Minor in the vehicle: If an individual is convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol with a minor in the vehicle they will receive a mandatory minimum of 5 days in jail for each properly restrained minor. If the police find that the minor is not properly restrained the mandatory minimum increases to 10 days for each improperly restrained minor.
  •  Prohibited drugs: If a person is driving with a Schedule I drug, controlled substance or chemical in the car while under the influence they could experience enhanced jail time.
  • Taxis and other commercial vehicles: If a driver of a commercial vehicle is found guilty of DUI they will experience a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 5 days.

In addition to jailtime and severe fines an individual convicted of DUI in the District of Columbia may be assessed up to 12 points on their license, which can result in an automatic revocation for up to 6 months.

If you have been charged with DUI or believe you will be it is important to hire an attorney who is experience in DC DUI defense. An attorney can protect your rights starting leading up to and during the trial.

If you, a family member, or friend have been charged with a DUI in the District of Columbia Contact our office today for a free consultation by calling 202-861-0085. Additional Resources:

Penalties for Drinking and Driving, Metropolitan Police Department.

D.C. toughens drunk driving law, restores breath test, Washington Post, July, 31, 2012, By Robert Thomson.

The Law Office of Thomas E. Lester serves clients throughout Washington D.C. and Virginia.

© 2024 Law Office of Thomas E. Lester
400 5th Street NW, Suite 350, Washington, DC 20001
| Phone: 202-861-0085 | 855-270-53-63

Criminal Defense | DWI/DUI Defense | Civil Litigation | Traffic Offenses