If you’ve made the mistake of driving while under the influence in Washington, DC, you’ll be surprised to know that the city has its own unique set of DUI penalties that are strict and enforced.
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal in Washington, DC, and the United States. If charged, you can face serious consequences that can affect your life for years, not just because of your conviction but because of the collateral consequences that may result.
A DUI offense in Washington, DC, carries penalties that can affect your driver’s license for up to five years. In addition, if you are convicted of violating Washington DC DUI laws, the DC DMV can suspend your license immediately or impose a six-month to one-year revocation period. In either case, it may appear on your driving record for a specified time and possibly cause insurance rates to go up.
Types of Impaired Driving Offenses
Here are three types of offenses you may face if you are convicted of a DUI in DC:
- Driving While Intoxicated
You can be charged with a DUI for driving a motor vehicle (car, truck, or motorcycle) while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or both. If you refuse to take breath, alcohol blood, or urine tests when an officer requests, you may become guilty of this offense. If convicted of this offense, you can pay a fine of thousands of dollars.
- Operating While Impaired
You can be charged with an OWI even if you aren’t driving but simply operating a vehicle by having the ignition on. The DC DMV defines “impairment” as having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or above.
- Driving Under the Influence
You will be charged with a DUI if proven that you have been driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The police officer will have to prove that you were impaired by using at least two different types of relevant evidence: your BAC and observable evidence of intoxication.
Suppose the officer has sufficient evidence that you have been driving while under alcohol or drugs. In that case, they will perform field sobriety tests on you to determine if your impairment meets this requirement. Depending upon your test results, you will be charged with an operating under the influence (DUI) offense.
What are the Possible Penalties for a DUI Conviction?
DUI DC penalties vary depending upon whether you are convicted of an OWI offense or a DUI offense. The possibility of incarceration, fines, and probation time is much higher if you are convicted of a DUI than if you are convicted of an OWI.
What are the penalties for a DUI?
Driving under the influence (DUI) in Washington, DC is an arrestable offense and a criminal violation. This means that you will face the possibility of serious prison time and financial penalties if convicted, especially on second offenses. Penalties vary depending upon whether you are convicted of an OWI or a DUI conviction.
Penalties and fines include:
- A 180-day to 365-day driver’s license suspension or revocation and a $150- $1,000 fine
- At least 40 hours of community service
- Up to 180 days of incarceration.
- A 180-365 day driver’s license suspension or revocation and a $150-1,000 fine
- At least 60 hours of community service and up to one year in jail for the first offense within five years
While driving while intoxicated (OWI) in Washington, DC, is also a misdemeanor and an arrestable offense. It, too, is still a criminal violation. This means that you could still face the possibility of prison time and financial penalties if convicted.
What are the Penalties for a DUI While Driving without a License?
Driving while your license is revoked, suspended, or expired is a crime, and you will face up to six months in jail and hefty fines. You will also receive an automatic revocation of your driver’s license in addition to the DMV fines and possibly incarceration penalties. In addition, the DMV could uspend your license for additional years for this offense, whether a first or second conviction.
Sometimes, a lawyer can convince a judge and prosecutor to accept a plea bargain and reduce penalties and charges. This is usually the case when the police do not have overwhelming evidence to prove that you were driving under alcohol and drugs. Your bargaining power, as well as the attitude of your lawyer, will determine how successful you are in this endeavor. In addition, other mitigating circumstances may reduce your penalties.
Judges and prosecutors may be more sympathetic to your case if you also show that this was an isolated incident instead of a pattern of behavior.
If you have been charged with a DUI offense in Washington, DC, you should contact an experienced DC DUI attorney as quickly as possible. DUI cases are complicated, and your lawyer needs to start working on your case immediately after they take it. A lawyer can help you navigate the legal system and give you essential information about what penalties you may face if you are convicted. If you are on probation or already have a driver’s license suspended or revoked, you must be aware of the consequences of a DUI conviction. The penalties for these offenses differ from those for DUIs that do not involve driving privileges.
As you can see, multiple legal strategies exist when fighting a DUI charge in Washington, DC. First, you need to hire an expert, experienced attorney and discuss the case with them as soon as possible. Your attorney will take the time to listen to your version of events and find any inconsistencies that police may have overlooked during their investigation. Once your attorney has all of the information they need, they will be able to begin working on your case. For the best DC DUI defense, call Nabeel Kibria of Ervin Kibria Law at 202-689-4439 or email him at email@example.com or visit the firm’s website at www.ervinkibrialaw.com.