According to a recent news article from NBC 4 Washington, an officer of the Washington, DC Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) was just arrested on suspicion of drunk driving.  The officer was arrested after his supervising officer allegedly noticed a strong odor of alcohol coming from his person during an interaction with this officer that arose as a result of a civilian complaint.

Police CarThe defendant has been a sworn MPD officer for four years prior to his drunk driving arrest in Washington, DC.  When his supervisor smelled the odor of alcohol, he asked the officer to exit his vehicle and subjected him to a series of standardized field sobriety tests (SFTSs).  According to a spokesperson for the MPD, this officer allegedly failed the SFSTs, and that, along with additional probable cause, led them to arrest the officer on a charge of driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol. It is important to understand that this officer has merely been accused of a crime and is presumed innocent unless and until he is found guilty in a court of law beyond a reasonable doubt. Continue reading

For family members and loved ones of those arrested can experience intense anxiety, fear, and stress.  First and foremost, when someone in DC gets arrested, the police will not likely give accurate information as to where they will take the person.  If the police have told you that the person will be taken to Central Cellblock, you can call and find out if that is correct.

Central Cellblock is located next to DC Superior Court at the Metropolitan Police Headquarters.

The contact information for Central Cellblock is:

300 Indiana Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20001

Phone: (202) 727-4222
Fax: (202) 727-2230

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Owner and founding attorney Joseph Scrofano discusses what qualities to look for when hiring an attorney. Many people think there is a single best criminal defense or DUI attorney out there. However, there is no single best criminal defense attorney. Its important to hire someone you are comfortable with who will fight aggressively to protect your rights and get you a good result based on the facts of your case. Experience in the court you are getting charged in is another factor to consider when looking for the right criminal defense or DUI attorney. At Scrofano Law PC, we abide by three core principles: honesty, commitment, and creativity.

We are always honest with our clients. 100 percent of the time. No exceptions. We will never try to convince you to plead guilty when its not in your interest to do so. We will never try to scare you into taking a deal. We are committed to your case. Whether it requires dragging out the case over a year and filing every possible non-frivolous motion, we will do it. Finally, we do not provide a standard approach to each case. Each case is different and we look for creative, outside the box solutions to the problems you face. If you are someone you know is under investigation or charged with a crime, crime contact Scrofano Law PC today for a full case evaluation.

Owner and founding attorney, Joseph Scrofano discusses how the firm bills clients with flat fees. When you are under investigation or facing a criminal charge, uncertainty is everywhere. Its uncertain whether you may go to jail or lose your license or be put on probation. At Scrofano Law PC, whether it’s a DUI case or a serious felony, we charge flat fee billing. In a case evaluation, each attorney will go over the facts of your case and determine a fee based on a number of variables, including, among other things, the complexity of the case and the likelihood the case will go to trial.

Once the fee is set, you will never be billed again for the same matter. If you have questions about your case, our attorneys will take the time needed to make sure you understand all your options whether in person, over the phone, over email, or even over text message. The amount of time you spend with your attorney will not increase the bill. At Scrofano Law PC, we want you to have certainty in a very uncertain time for you. If you are someone you know is under investigation or facing a criminal charge, contact Scrofano Law PC for a full case evaluation.

Owner and Founding Attorney Joseph Scrofano discusses the importance of exercising your right to remain silence. It is one of our most cherished and fundamental rights. The police, court, and government cannot lawfully hold it against you. We hear it in the movies and see it on television. It is one of our fundamental rights under the constitution. The two most important things you can do in any police interaction are: (1) show respect and cooperate with the officer; and (2) forcefully yet respectfully assert your rights. It may sound contradictory but you should even say the words: I am asserting my right to silence.

If you or a loved one find yourselves under investigation or facing a criminal charge, contact Scrofano Law PC for a full case evaluation. Our attorney have experience fighting criminal charges and investigations in DC and Northern Virginia. We specialize in DC DUI cases, hit and runs, solicitation case, gun cases, drug cases, record sealing and expungement, underage drinking, assault crimes, misdemeanors, and serious felony charges in DC Superior Court, DC District Court, Arlington, Alexandria, and Fairfax.

In the District of Columbia, the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) is responsible for prosecuting DUIs and it takes this job very seriously. While other jurisdictions routinely offer favorable deals for DUI offenders, DC rarely does. What that means is that often times you would be no better off pleading guilty than you would be if you took the case to trial and lost. Your best bet at beating a DUI conviction is going to trial and holding the government to its burden of proof.

To be convicted of a DUI, the government must prove that you were (1) operating a motor vehicle (2) while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. While two elements may not seem like much to prove for the government, there are numerous ways to challenge the evidence against you on both elements.

The first element of the DUI offense is the trickiest element to challenge because DC law has a broad definition of what it means to operate a motor vehicle. Operate is defined as actual physical control over the vehicle. Physical control means capable of putting the vehicle into movement or preventing movement. If you were pulled over and the police witnessed you driving, it is hard to say you were not operating the vehicle.

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A Wisconsin man is currently facing up to 30 years in prison after being convicted of his eighth DUI. In the state of Wisconsin, while a single DUI conviction is usually charged as a misdemeanor, multiple DUIs are charged as felonies which carry significantly higher penalties. Unlike in Wisconsin, however, DUIs within the District of Columbia are never charged as felonies.

As previously discussed, in the District, the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) has jurisdiction over the prosecution of DUIs. The OAG can only prosecute traffic misdemeanors like DUIs, reckless driving, and hit and runs. Conversely, if a person within DC is charged with a felony, the United States Attorney’s Office (USAO) has jurisdiction to prosecute the case. Consequently, the OAG will rarely ever charge a DUI as a felony because it does not want to lose jurisdiction over the case. What this means is that no matter how many DUIs you get within DC, you will only ever be charged with a misdemeanor. So while the Wisconsin man mentioned earlier faces up to 30 years in prison for eight DUI convictions, the most time a person will spend in jail for any DC DUI or DWI is up to 1 year.

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In recent news, Public Enemy hype man Flavor Flav was arrested for driving under the influence in Las Vegas. This arrest follows a string of other charges plaguing the Rock & Roll Hall-of-Famer including charges for marijuana-related DUI, speeding, open container, operating a vehicle without a valid permit, and battery. Considering the length of the rap legend’s rap sheet, you can imagine how quickly Flavor Flav said “Yeahhh Boiii” when the judge in the most recent case accepted his plea of no contest.  In some states, when you are arrested for a crime, you have the option of pleading three different ways to the charges: not guilty, guilty, or no contest. Generally, the government will offer you some type of deal in order for you to plead guilty or no contest because it gives the government a chance to close your case quickly and secure an easy conviction.  Flava Flav’s case illustrates an important point about handling a DUI or DWI in DC.

In many cases, it is common for the government to offer some sort of lighter sentence in return for a defendant’s guilty plea. In other cases, a defendant may plead no contest (or nolo contendere) and the government will not oppose this plea because the defendant will be punished the same way as if he or she pled guilty. A no contest plea is preferable for some defendants because it allows the defendant to avoid admitting guilt for the crime and the negative effects that a guilty plea may have otherwise had in the future. A nolo contendere plea is basically the Defendant saying: “I may or may not be guilty but I don’t want to take the time and effort to challenge the prosecution.”

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sleep-1431410What started out as a mission to satisfy a late-night craving, ended in disaster for one Florida man when a police officer found him sleeping in his car at a Taco Bell drive-thru.

As explained in a recent Los Angeles Times article, the driver fell asleep while placing his order early one Friday morning.  After the drive-thru attendant woke the driver up, he pulled his car into a parking spot to wait for his order there.  Not long after the driver parked his car, a police officer who had been dining inside the restaurant, noticed him sleeping.  The driver explained to the officer that he was just waiting on the food he’d ordered, but the officer knew something the man did not—he had actually never ordered his food.  Suspecting the driver may be under the influence, the officer asked him to take a roadside breath test but he refused.  However, the man was eventually charged with DUI after failing a field sobriety test.

This news article demonstrates the confusing nature of what it means to “operate” a motor vehicle while intoxicated or under the influence.  Employing the general standards of common sense, one would think the driver wasn’t in control of his vehicle in this situation because the car was parked and the driver was asleep.  In the District of Columbia, however, common sense does not prevail.

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car-1232347As previously discussed, if you are arrested in the District of Columbia for a DUI, the DMV will most likely suspend or revoke your license for a period of 6 months to 2 years depending on various factors. However, the DC DMV offe
rs an Ignition Interlock Device Program (IIDP) allows DUI and DWI offenders to get their driving privileges back faster.  An ignition interlock device is a breathalyzer connected to a car’s ignition system. To start the car, the driver must first blow into the device to check the alcohol level on his or her breath. The car will only start if the driver’s breath alcohol level is below an accepted amount on the device.

While the device itself may be a bit burdensome on a driver or a somewhat unsightly in your vehicle, DC’s IIDP gives DUI offenders a chance to reduce the suspension or revocation period on their license. What this means is that if your license is suspended because of a DC DUI and you participate in the program, you get a restricted driver’s license which allows you to drive as you once did, so long as your vehicle contains the breathalyzer. Although the program is optional at the moment, it may become mandatory for some DUI offenders.

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