Articles Tagged with Alcohol Offenses

DC DMV Hearing

DC DMV Hearing

As previously blogged about, one of the collateral consequences of an arrest and/or conviction for a DC DUI can be the revocation or suspension of your DC driver’s license. Police officers who make an arrest for DUI or DWI are supposed to provide the arrestee with a Notice of Proposed Revocation. The Notice instructs the arrestee to request a hearing with the DC DMV. For out of state license holders, you have 15 days to request a hearing. For DC license holders, you only have 10 days to request a hearing. If you do not request a hearing, DMV will revoke your driver’s license (for a DC license holder) or driving privileges in DC (for an out of state license holder) automatically. Accordingly, its extremely important that you request a hearing after being arrested for DUI.

The hearing will be conducted by a DMV Hearing Examiner who in some ways is similar to a judge. There are three possible outcomes of a DMV Hearing. First, the Hearing Examiner may revoke your license for a period of six months or one year. Second, the Hearing Examiner may dismiss the hearing. In that case, your license remains valid and driving privileges remain intact. However, if you are ultimately convicted in the criminal case, then your license would eventually be suspended. Finally, the Hearing Examiner could “take no action,” which means license and driving privileges remain intact until the criminal case is resolved one way or the other.

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night-life-2-1438558-3-mUsing a fake ID to get into a bar, while certainly not advisable, is as common for college students as sleeping through Friday morning classes.  In the District of Columbia, like most places, using a fake id is a crime.  The DC City Council has passed laws that, to some extent, recognize how common a scenario using a fake ID to get alcohol is.  For a first offense, the law provides for a diversion program where, if successfully completed, can result in the person arrested getting their case dismissed and their record expunged.

The offense is typically referred to as an ABC violation.  If caught with a fake ID by law enforcement in DC, you will be arrested and booked for this crime.  You will be prosecuted by the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia.  Fortunately, they do not prosecute these crimes as aggressively as DUI offenses.  However, and what will be the subject of a future posting, a DUI arrest for an underage drinking is treated much differently than an ABC violation.

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This post is the second part in the two part series discussing consequences of a DC DUI conviction.  The first part discussed direct consequences, which involved things like probation and jail time.  This discussion is not meant to be a complete list of all collateral beer-vector-1438087-mconsequences for a DC DUI or DWI conviction–just some of the most common.

The first major collateral consequence is the loss of one’s driver’s license or driving privilege.  In the District of Columbia, just an arrest for a DUI can trigger a license suspension or the suspension of one’s driving privileges in the city.  When DC police arrest someone for DUI, they are supposed to issue what’s called a Notice of Proposed Suspension.  The form should be read carefully because it provides instructions on how to prevent an immediate license suspension for the arrest.  The notice instructs the arrestee to apply for a hearing in person at the DC Department of Motor Vehicles within ten days of arrest (or fifteen days for an out of state resident).  If the arrestee does not apply for this hearing, the license or driving privileges (for an out of state resident) will be suspended or revoked.  I recommend immediately contacting an experienced DC DUI lawyer if arrested for DUI.  Many people do not read the notices or are not sure what they are supposed to do to prevent license suspension.  Applying for the hearing will basically freeze the suspension from taking effect.  It will then be up to a hearing examiner at the DMV at some future hearing date to decide whether the suspend the license or driving privileges.

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alcohol-1342726-mThis post is the first in a two part series that discusses the consequences of a DC DUI or DWI conviction.  As I have discussed in previous posts, DUI’s in the District of Columbia are heavily enforced and aggressively prosecuted.  A first time DUI offense in the District of Columbia is a misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of 180 days in jail and/or a $1,000.00 fine.  While it is a misdemeanor (as opposed to a more serious felony), the consequences of a DUI conviction can be far reaching.

Because of the serious consequences, it is important that anyone charged with a DC DUI hire an experienced and aggressive DUI lawyer.

This post will discuss some of the main consequences that are common to all DC DUI convictions.  Some people may suffer additional specific consequences unique to their own situation.  For example, a specific employer could find out about the conviction and terminate the individual’s job or an individual could suffer serious family problems as a result.  However, this post will discuss consequences that apply to everyone.

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This post is the final part in a three part series that answers frequently asked questions for folks arrested for DUI and DWI in the District of Columbia.

What are the chances this case will just get dropped?

Unfortunately, the chances that the DC Attorney General’s Office will drop a DC DUI or DWI is basically zero.  As I have previously stated, the DC OAG treats DUI cases like murder cases.  Whether its the fact that the local government gets more federal money the more DUI convictions they get or because they have such limited jurisdiction to prosecute crimes in DC, I don’t know.  But I can tell you they will not just drop it.  Accordingly, its important you hire an experience DC DUI attorney who will fight to protect your rights.

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This blog is the second post in a two part series that sets out to answer some of the frequently asked questions for DC DUI arrests.

What will happen to my driver’s license if I am arrested for DUI or DWI in DC?

The answer to this questions depends on whether you have a DC driver’s license or an out of state license.  First and foremost, if you have a DC driver’s license and you get arrested for DUI or DWI, you can lose your license just for the arrest.  Its important to request a hearing with the DC Department of Motor Vehicles (or “DMV”) within ten business days of your arrest.  Doing that will stop the license suspension from taking effect.  It will then be up to a hearing examiner at DMV to decide whether to suspend the license or not based on the testimony of the arresting officer.  At the very least, requesting the hearing will at least postpone the license suspension.  If convicted for DUI, you can lose your DC license for six months to one year.

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This posting is the first in a three part series that seeks to answer some of the many questions people have regarding DC DUI arrests.  This post, like all posts, is not intended to serve as legal advice and is for educational purposes only.

Do I have to blow into the breath machine?

This question is complicated, but the short answer is no.  However, if you refuse to blow into the breathalyzer or submit to a urine or blood sample, the DC Department of Motor Vehicles can suspend your license for one year.  Although any arrest or conviction for DUI or DWI in DC can result in a loss of license for at least six months anyway.  The refusal may add another six months.  However, most DC DUI judges will give probation to first time offenders.  However, if your breath score is above a .20, then that triggers mandatory minimum jail time under the law.  That means even if the judge only wants you to give you probation, she must give you some mandatory minimum time.  The new law also prevents this time from being served on the weekends.  DUI is the only crime where the law literally requires you to incriminate yourself while police investigate you or be punished.

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private-sign-1382045-mIf you are arrested in the District of Columbia, the police will confiscate your property.  The police will take your property and in most cases they make it very difficult (if not impossible) for you to get your property back.  When they take your property, there are three primary manners in which they categorize the property, which determine the process you must use to get it back.

First, personal property, which may include keys, wallet, and other personal items.  That type of property is the easiest to get back.  The police should give you a property receipt, which you can take back to the police station to get your items returned.  However, the police will not release personal effects to a third-party.  That means if you are locked up after your arrest, you cannot send a friend or family member to pick up the property.

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This blog is the second part of a three part series discussing the standardized field sobriety tests police officers will administer as part of a DC DUI and DWI traffic stop.  The first part discussed the horizontal gaze nystagmus test (or “HGN”).  This part discusses the second test, which is the walk and turn test (“WAT”).

The “WAT” test requires that you walk nine steps heel to toe along a straight line, pivot three steps to turn, and then walk nine steps back heel to toe.  Police officers that NHTSA has certified to administer SFST’s look for eight cues of impairment during this test.  Like with the HGN test, the officers do not tell you what the cues are and they are the sole judge of whether you pass or fail the test.

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officer-on-duty-542938-mThis blog is the first part of a three part series discussing the standardized field sobriety tests (or “SFST’s”) used to investigate a DC DUI or DWI stop.  If a DC police officer pulls someone over and suspects that the driver has been drinking, the officer will usually ask the person to step outside the vehicle and perform the SFST’s.  The SFST’s are made up of three tests.  Officers who administer the test have usually been certified by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (or “NHTSA”) to perform such tests.  Their certification typically consists of a 40 hour training course and a test at the end of the course, which requires them to administer the SFST’s exactly consistent with NHTSA standards.

The three tests consist of the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test (or “HGN”), the walk and turn, and the one leg stand.  The walk and turn and one leg stand in the context of a DC DUI stop will be discussed in the next two posts.  With each test during the DC DUI investigation, the officer looks for specific cues of impairment to determine whether the person passes or fails to test.  Ultimately, if the officer perceives enough “cues” of impairment, he or she will make a DUI arrest.

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