Once known as the murder capital of the United States, Washington DC has dramatically reduced the incidence of violent crime during the last decade and a half. Between 1995 and 2007 violent crime declined almost 47% and property crime dropped about 48%.
But one crime that is still top of mind for DC law enforcement is that of drunk driving. Drunk driving is a serious crime in the District of Columbia. There is a zero tolerance policy for drinking and driving in the DC area so driving with any amount of alcohol in your system can result in an arrest.
If you have been arrested for a drunk driving offense in the Washington DC area, it is important that you take immediate action in order to protect your rights and privileges. The laws related to driving while intoxicated in DC are complicated and formulating a defense for this crime is a time-consuming and overwhelming task for most laypersons. For this reason, it is important that you contact a qualified DUI attorney to review your case.
There are three offenses related to drunk driving in the Washington DC area – driving under the influence (DUI), driving while intoxicated (DWI), and operating while impaired (OWI). DUI applies if the driver’s blood alcohol concentration is .08% or greater. A DWI is the charge that is applied if the driver’s BAC is below .08% but there is alcohol present in the driver’s system, and OWI can be charged simply based on the arresting officer’s assessment that the driver is impaired.
The driver’s BAC is determined by a chemical test that requires that the driver provide a blood or breath sample. There are two cases involved when a driver is arrested for drunk driving. The first involves the suspension of the driver’s license and is brought by the Department of Motor Vehicles. This suspension is automatic following the driver’s arrest. The driver will have 5 days following his or her arrest in which to contest this automatic suspension. You must act quickly to ensure that your driving privileges are preserved.
The second case that results from a drunk driving arrest is a criminal case. If convicted of a first offense DUI/DWI/OWI, a driver can expect penalties including significant fines, license suspension, and even jail time. These penalties will increase in severity if the driver has a previous drunk driving conviction within the past 15 years.
Additionally, a drunk driving conviction will have negative implications for the driver’s ability to maintain auto insurance. Drivers with a drunk driving record also risk problems with their employment, particularly if their profession or position requires security clearance.
The risks to your way of life are too great in these cases. You need a legal professional to walk with you through this difficult time. Contact an experienced DUI/DWI/OWI lawyer today.