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  • Writer's pictureCamille Wagner

What are the DUI penalties in DC?

Understanding the penalties you face is important. If you have been charged with a DUI in DC, here is what you need to know regarding the penalties and potential enhancements.

Driving Under the Influence: 1st Offense

If this is the first time you have ever been arrested for a DUI, or if you have not been convicted of a DUI in the past 15 years, then you are facing a maximum penalty of up to 180 days in jail and/or up to a $1,000 fine.


Driving Under the Influence: 2nd Offense

If in the past 15 years you had a conviction for a DUI, that will count as a prior offense. That means that the Office of the Attorney General can file enhancements. If you are convicted for DUI 2nd offense, by losing at trial or pleading guilty, then you are facing a maximum penalty of up to 1 year in jail and/or a $2,500-$5,000 fine. Of that 1 year of incarceration, 10 days are mandatory. That means that the judge must sentence you to at least 10 consecutive days of jail.


Driving Under the Influence: 3rd Offense

If in the past 15 years you had two prior convictions for a DUI, that will count as prior offenses. That means that the Office of the Attorney General can file enhancements. If you are convicted for DUI 3rd offense, by losing at trial or pleading guilty, then you are facing a maximum penalty of up to 1 year in jail and/or a $2,500-$10,000. Of that 1 year of incarceration, 15 days are mandatory. That means that the judge must sentence you to at least 15 consecutive days of jail.


Driving Under the Influence: 4th Offense

If in the past 15 years you had three prior convictions for a DUI, that will count as prior offenses. That means that the Office of the Attorney General can file enhancements. If you are convicted for DUI 4th offense, by losing at trial or pleading guilty, then you are facing a maximum penalty of up to 1 year in jail and/or $2,500-$10,000. Of that 1 year of incarceration, 45 days are mandatory. That means that the judge must sentence you to at least 45 consecutive days of jail.

 

Understanding Mandatory Jail Time: Enhancements Filed

As you can see above, mandatory jail time can apply when the Office of the Attorney General files enhancements. There are different kinds of enhancements. The most common are:

  • Prior DUI convictions within a 15 year period

  • Breath score (testing the level of alcohol)

  • Urinalysis result (testing level of alcohol and presence of drugs)

  • Blood test result (testing level of alcohol and presence/level of drugs)

  • Minors in the vehicle

  • Commercial vehicles

If these enhancements are filed, there could be mandatory jail time that the court must impose if convicted at trial or if accepting a plea. Understanding how much mandatory jail time you face is extremely important when making the decision of going to trial versus accepting an offer.


Using an Example

Let's say that in the past 15 years, you had two prior DUI convictions. The Office of the Attorney General will file enhancements and you will be facing a DUI 3rd Offense. That means that of the one year of jail you are facing, 15 days would have to be imposed if convicted.

But let's also say that when you were arrested and taken to the police station, you consented to providing a breath sample. Let's assume that you blew and the result was .23 grams per 100 milliliters of blood or per 210 liters of breath. With that score, facing a DUI 3rd offense, there is an additional 20 days of jail that the court must imposed.

Lastly, let's assume that in the car were two minors. One was properly restrained with a seatbelt and the other was not. For the minor properly restrained, there is a mandatory 5 days of jail and for the minor without the seatbelt, there is a mandatory 10 days in jail.


Using this example, the maximum penalty you are facing if convicted is up to 1 year in jail and 50 of those days must be served, meaning the judge cannot suspend that time and the judge must order you to serve those 50 days in jail consecutively.

 

What to Do?

If you have been charged with a DUI, even if no enhancements apply, you are still facing potential jail time. It is important to retain an experienced DUI attorney.


At Wagner PLLC, our DUI & Criminal Defense Attorneys are ready, willing, and able to defend you. Don't wait and call us today!

 

www.myattorneywagner.com I 202.630.8812 I law@myattorneywagner.com


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