DUI/DWI

Washington, DC DUI/DWI Lawyer

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In Washington, DC the charges related to drunk driving or driving under the influence of other inebriating substances can be broken down in to three categories.

1)      Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)

2)      Driving Under the Influence (DUI)

3)      Operating While Impaired (OWI)

Driving While Intoxicated

A driver may be charged with a DWI if he/she has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or greater, and is operating or in physical control of a motor vehicle.  It is important to remember that the minimum threshold is “physical control” of the vehicle.  A person may be charged with a DWI even if they are not actually driving, but merely sitting in the car with the ignition on.

An officer may test your BAC by conducting a breath, urine, or blood test, or a combination of these.  A person is considered “per se” intoxicated if they have a BAC of .08 or above.  You are not required to submit to these tests, but it is important to understand that a person can still be charged with a DWI and have their license revoked.  Further, if you have a prior conviction and refuse to submit to a test, you are presumed to be intoxicated.

For a first-time DWI offense, the maximum penalty is a fine of up to $1,000 and/or 180 days in prison.  If you have a BAC of .20-.25 you can be imprisoned for a mandatory minimum of 10 days.  A person with a BAC of .25-.30 can be imprisoned for a mandatory minimum of 15 days.  A BAC of above .30 carries a mandatory minimum of 20 days in prison.

Driving Under the Influence

A driver may be charged with a DUI if operating or in physical control of a vehicle while his/her ability to operate or control the vehicle was impaired by the consumption of alcohol or drugs.  Evidence of impairment include performance on field sobriety tests, speech patterns, bloodshot or watery eyes, and other behaviors. 

Police may also administer BAC tests, which may be refused.  However, as stated previously, a person may still be convicted even if they do not submit to the testing.  A first-time DUI offense carries a maximum penalty of up to 180 days’ incarceration and a fine of up to $1,000. 

Operating While Impaired

A driver may be charged with an OWI if operating or in physical control of a vehicle in the District while his/her ability to operate or be in physical control of the vehicle is impaired by the consumption of alcohol or any drug or any combination thereof.  A first-time conviction carries a maximum penalty of 90 days in prison and up to $500 in fines.

In addition to the above penalties, a DUI/DWI/OWI conviction can lead to increased auto insurance premiums, decreased credit ratings, loss of occupation licensing, and other costs.  Any driver in the District who has been charged with any of these offenses should consider hiring an experienced Washington, DC DUI lawyer to help defend against these charges, and possibly even beat them.


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