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In the District of Columbia, it is illegal to drive while under the influence. Drivers charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) face jail time, fines, and license suspensions. Beyond that, an impaired driving charge stays on the driver’s record for several years, and this can have long-lasting negative effects. In DC, DUI and OWI charges are governed by D.C. Code § 50–2206.
Driving Under the Influence in DC.
There are two ways the prosecution can prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that you were under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs while operating a motor vehicle. The first is by proving, through chemical tests, that your BAC was 0.8 or over. The second is by proving that your alcohol/drug intake impaired you to a degree that could be noticed or perceived.
Penalties of DUI
Penalties for a first-time offense can result in up to 180 days in jail, fines up to $1,000, and a suspended license. Drivers must participate in chemical tests or they will have their licenses suspended for one year.
If you have prior convictions for DUI within the past 15 years, they will count as prior offenses which will lead to enhancements being filed and mandatory minimum jail time.
Effects on your License
After a DUI or OWI in Washington, D.C., drivers will face an administrative license suspension. The driver’s license may be revoked for a DUI/OWI conviction, with the loss of license period based on the driver’s alcohol level and the number of prior offenses. A driver can also lose their license for refusing a chemical test after a DUI arrest.