The answer is complicated but probably not.  In 2015, the District of Columbia City Council passed legislation that legalized marijuana under local law. The legislation codified Proposition 71, which was a voter initiative that the citizens of the District overwhelmingly supported. This paved the way for a new era in marijuana laws in the DC. However, Republicans in Congress have each year interfered with the will of local voters and put a “rider” into a spending bill that blocks the local government from the ability to create a regulatory mechanism for recreational dispensaries.

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Getting arrested for a DUI in DC or another criminal offense can have a serious impact on an individual’s security clearance. In addition, someone who has past criminal charges applying for a security clearance may have issues obtaining the clearance depending on several factors. The purpose of this post is to answer some frequently asked questions about the impact of DUI or criminal charges on an individual’s security clearance.

What is a security clearance?

Military personnel, government employees, and government contractors may need access to certain classified information as part of their jobs. Accordingly, the federal government has devised a regulatory scheme to issue licenses for individuals to access this information. There are typically three types of security clearances. A confidential security clearance is the lowest level of clearance. Second, a secret clearance is the next level up. Finally, top secret is the highest level of clearance. Public Trust and Controlled Unclassified are lower designations that do not constitute security clearances but typically involve a background check. The level of access to information needed will usually determine what level of clearance the applicant needs.

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Getting arrested for a DUI in Washington DC is a serious offense. Penalties for a conviction can include loss of license, higher insurance, fines, and jail time. However, getting arrested is not the same as getting convicted. If you are arrested for a crime, the law presumes you are innocent until proven guilty. However, if you plead guilty and get sentenced or go to trial and are found guilty by a judge or jury, you are no longer innocent. You have been convicted.

Just getting arrested for a DUI can lead to a suspended license and other consequences. However, if your case gets dismissed or you go to trial and are found “not guilty” you will not have a conviction on your record. Because its important to try and avoid a conviction, the following is list of 20 ways to challenge a DC DUI. Keep in mind this is not an exhaustive list, all cases are different, and there are no guarantees any of these strategies will work for your specific case. The point of this article is to demonstrate that there are many options for challenging a DC DUI arrest.

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The District of Columbia has notoriously strict gun laws. However, a series of court cases in the Supreme Court and lower federal courts have, to some extent, made obtaining a concealed carry permit feasible. As discussed in previous posts, several important cases have chipped away at the District’s prohibition of the possession of, registration, and carrying of firearms in the city.

The purpose of this post is not to be a treatise on these cases but its important to note the general holdings in these cases. In 2008, the Supreme Court, in Heller, held that the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution applied to the District of Columbia and stated possessing a firearm at home for self-defense was a constitutional right. In reaction to that decision, the City Council passed cumbersome regulatory laws that permitted individuals to register a firearm to possess at home for the purpose of self-defense. Simultaneously, the City Council barred anyone from carrying a pistol outside their home or place of business.

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The District of Columbia has some of the toughest gun laws in the nation.  While federal courts have on several occasions struck down D.C. gun laws, the city still maintains some of the most restrictive policies for gun owners.The District of Columbia has some of the toughest gun laws in the nation.  While federal courts have on several occasions struck down D.C. gun laws, the city still maintains some of the most restrictive policies for gun owners.

The first step in lawfully possessing a firearm in the District of Columbia is registering it with the Metropolitan Police Department.  This must be done at MPD headquarters located at:

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For a city dedicated to the admiration of the Constitution and the nation that it founded, Washington, D.C. has a history of having some of the strictest gun laws in the country.  It’s protection of the 2nd Amendment Right to Bear Arms has always been heavily regulated and severely enforced. On July 25, 2017, however, the tide seemed to turn when a panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled 2-1 that the “good reason” requirement in obtaining a license to carry a pistol in the District is unconstitutional.  The United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, in Wrenn v. District of Columbia, struck down the District’s licensing scheme for obtaining a license to carry a pistol outside the home for self-defense.

Prior to this ruling, citizens had to prove that they had a “good reason” (ie. a job that makes them carry a lot of cash or valuables, or being in a position where one would be targeted) to carry a concealed firearm.  Now, if this decisions stands, this might no longer be the case.

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The District of Columbia is unique for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that there are dozens of police departments whose officers regularly patrol the city. Between the Metropolitan Police Department, the United States Secret Service, the Metro Transit Police, the United States Park Police, the Capitol Police, the myriad university police forces and more, D.C. residents can practically be pulled over or arrested anywhere by any force at any time. That being said, it is always helpful to have an understanding of the different federal and local police forces which have jurisdiction in Washington, D.C. and to know their jurisdictions. Here is an overview of some of the most prevalent police forces in D.C. who can pull you over and potential arrest you for a DC DUI or DWI:

1. District of Columbia’s Metropolitan Police Department (MPD)

The Metropolitan Police, or MPD, is the local police force for the District of Columbia, and its jurisdiction covers the entirety of the District. MPD operates like any other city police department and serves the city as its local police force.  MPD is probably the most common agency to make arrests for DUI’s in DC and many of the MPD officers are certified to administer the standardized field sobriety tests and operate breathalyzer machines.

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A couple was arrested in New Jersey this week for two separate instances of drunk driving, each within six hours of each other according to a report from USA Today’s Daily Record.  The boyfriend was the first to be arrested after a police officer responded to a call about a vehicle left on the side of the highway with its engine running, blinker on and keys in the ignition.  After a lack of cooperation on the boyfriend’s part and a declined Alcotest (New Jersey’s breathalyzer program), the police arrested him and charged him with DWI and a host of other alcohol and traffic related offenses including disorderly conduct.  He was then taken to jail to wait in a holding cell until someone could show up to take him home.

When his girlfriend arrived to do just that, officers noticed her breath smelled like alcohol.  She admitted to drinking earlier in the day, and upon taking the field sobriety test and an breathalyzer, was discovered to blow a .28%—well over .08%, which is the legal maximum in each state.  She was then charged with DWI and joined her boyfriend to wait for someone to retrieve her from the police station. The girlfriend’s arrest raises all sorts of questions about D.C.  DUI law—like when and how a police officer can charge you with a DWI or DUI.  Based on the article alone, the girlfriend wasn’t even driving the vehicle when she spoke with the officers.  How could she have been arrested?  After all, driving under the influence requires that the person was driving not just that they were under the influence.

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nigth-at-hyper-1455387On January 25, 2016, Trump signed two draconian executive orders targeting documented and undocumented immigrants in the United States. There has been much attention regarding the executive orders barring refugees and any citizens’ entry of seven predominately Muslim countries. However, the impact on the criminal justice system regarding immigrants currently in the United States has received far less attention.

The Supreme Court case Padilla v. Kentucky placed an affirmative obligation on criminal defense attorneys to advise immigrant clients about potential immigration consequences for entering into guilty pleas. That seminal case created significant overlap between criminal defense and immigration law. Trump’s recent Executive Orders and their likely impact on the criminal justice system further blur the line between criminal defense and immigration law.

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Scrofano Law PC, a premiere criminal defense and civil rights firm in Washington, DC, will be offering pro bono representation to any peaceful protesters arrested during inauguration weekend.

CONTACT US AT 1-866-701-5450 or 202-765-3175

MENTION INAUGURATION PROTESTS

With several large-scale events and planned protests coinciding with Donald Trump’s inauguration weekend, we believe defending the First Amendment is BIGLY important.  As such, we are putting out some helpful information to protesters and offering our services free of charge to anyone arrested for conducting peaceful protest activities that weekend.

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