IMPORTANT: IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, YOUR LICENSE WILL BE REVOKED 5 DAYS AFTER YOUR ARREST FOR DWI, DUI, OR OWI, UNLESS YOU APPLY FOR A HEARING WITH DC DMV BEFORE THE 5 DAYS HAS ELAPSED. It is crucial that you or your attorney schedules this hearing to avoid forfeiting your driving privilege.
DC DUI CHARGES & PENALTIES
EXTREMELY IMPORTANT MESSAGE TO DRIVERS IN THE DISTRICT: There are 3 separate classifications for drinking and driving in Washington, D.C.. Each charge is uniquely different from the others and so are the penalties that each arrest/conviction carry with it. Below we explain the differences:
In the District of Columbia, you can be arrested for DWI if you are operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol level of 0.08% or more (the national standard for DUI). Additionally, if you’re under the age of 21, and you have any measurable amount of alcohol in your blood, urine, or on your breath, you can be arrested for DWI. For a first DWI offense, your penalties include fines up to $300.00 and you can spend up to 90 days in jail. If your BAC is 0.20 to 0.25, you will have to spend the mandatory 5 days in jail. And if it’s found that your BAC was in excess of 0.25 BAC, your mandatory jail sentence is 10 days.
In the District of Columbia, you can be arrested for DUI if you are operating a motor vehicle to the extent that you cannot operate a motor vehicle safely regardless of your blood alcohol content. DUIs can be more difficult to prove than a DWI, because the bulk of the charge lies on law enforcement’s observations of your actions, your statements, your driving performance, and your field sobriety test results. For a first DUI offense, your penalties include fines up to $300.00 and you can spend up to 90 days in jail. Your jail sentence, or a portion of it, can be converted to community service.
In the District of Columbia, you can also be arrested for OWI if you are operating a motor vehicle with any measurable amount of alcohol in your blood, urine, or on your breath. This effectively makes DC a “Zero-Tolerance” territory. Similarly to a DUI, being arrested for a OWI does not require a BAC reading and is based on law enforcement’s observations, your field sobriety test results, and statements made during the traffic stop. Penalties for a first time DC OWI are less severe than getting a DUI or DWI, but still steep compared to the rest of the country. You can expect to pay fines ranging between $200-$300, and spend up to 30 days in jail.
DC DUI LAWYER
A DUI, DWI, or OWI conviction will stay on your record for 15 years. Given the complicated nature of drinking and driving in the District of Columbia, it’s important that you contact a lawyer specializing in DUI IMMEDIATELY. A DC DUI attorney or criminal defense attorney will be able to assist you with the two separate cases that you’re facing and offer DWI, DUI, and OWI defense strategies. They will be able to handle both the criminal charges and the administrative case with DMV.