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District of Columbia DUI Laws


District of Columbia DUI Laws, like any other US state provide two instances where you can be arrested for driving under influence.

The first one is if you are intoxicated with alcohol or drugs and your driving is impaired. In this instance, there is no need to check the blood alcohol content in your system because this will be based purely on your driving patterns, physical appearance, and field sobriety test results. The officer present during the arrest will make that judgment.

The second instance of a DUI arrest is the violation of the per se law of the District of Columbia that states any BAC of an individual that reaches 0.08% or more can be grounds for a DUI arrest. You don’t have to prove anything during the arrest, such as being able to drive like a sober person, because the result of the BAC test is the basis.

For minors under the age of 21, the state has a zero tolerance. If you are under 21, you are strictly not allowed to take any alcohol or drug in your system while driving. For commercial vehicle drivers the state imposes a BAC of 0.04% or higher to be considered for a DUI arrest.

If you are arrested in the District of Columbia, you will be facing two cases. A criminal court case will determine the jail time, penalties, and programs you should attend once convicted of DUI. The other case is a Department of Motor Vehicles Administrative case wherein your driver’s license suspension will be determined.

Every state in the US includes an implied consent law wherein if you are driving within the streets of the District of Columbia, you will consent to have a BAC test. If you refuse to take the test, your driver’s license will be suspended for a year. Refusal of the said test will also result to much heavier punishments imposed by the criminal court case.

A DUI diversion program is offered by the District of Columbia DUI laws for first-time offenders who have had no record of a DUI conviction within a 15-year period in any state within the United States.

For those who do not qualify in this program, the following penalties and sanctions are imposed by the criminal court and the DMV case if convicted of driving under influence:

1. First DUI conviction – jail time of 90 days, fines of up to $300, and license suspension of 90 days;
2. Second DUI conviction – jail time of 12 months, fines from $1,000 to $5,000, community service of 30 days or more, and license suspension of 12 months; and
3. Third or subsequent DUI conviction – jail time of up to 12 months, fines from $2,000 to $10,000, community service of 60 days and license suspension of 24 months.

In all these, before you make a decision or action, you have to hire a DUI defense lawyer to help you go through the whole process.