Articles Tagged with citations

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 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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There are some days where the wastefulness in the criminal justice system makes me sick.  Last Wednesday, Novemberpolice-officer-1262266-m 7 was one of those days.  On the weekend of October 13, 2013, during the government shutdown, the Metropolitan Police Department conducted “Operation off the Streets 2.”  This operation, which probably cost the city millions of dollars in resources, resulted in the arrest of over 60 people in undercover prostitution operations.

Almost everyone arrested were first time offenders or people with very limited criminal history.  Almost everyone arrested was released on what’s called “citation release.”  That means the police released them at the station after booking them and gave them a citation to come to court at a future date.  That brings us to November 7—the day they set all 60 of these arrests for arraignment.  Some of them hired DC prostitution lawyers in advance others got court appointed attorneys on the day of arraignment.

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In the Washington, DC criminal defense world, a common scenario occurs where an individual gets pulled over by the police, arrested for DUI, and charged with two cases.  This scenario occurs when someone gets pulled over, the officer arrests the person for DUI, and later finds drugs in the vehicle—regardless of whether the drugs actually belong to the person arrested.

In most jurisdictions, that person would get charged for two crimes: drug possession and DUI.  In DC, however, the person will not only get two charges but have two criminal cases against them.  Two separate law enforcement agencies will prosecute each case.  The DC Office of the Attorney General will prosecute the DUI, and the United States Attorneys’ Office for the District of Columbia will prosecute the drug possession charge.  It is common for one set of facts to lead to a prosecution for two separate charges.  But DC criminal law is unique that the same set of facts can lead to prosecution for two separate cases.

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Police CarIn Washington, DC, two separate agencies prosecute crimes.  The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia prosecutes felony cases and most misdemeanors.  In addition, the District of Columbia Office of the Attorney General prosecutes traffic crimes–most notably DUI’s.  When someone gets arrested, the arresting officers fills out a number of police reports.  Those reports are then sent to the prosecuting agency.  On any given day in Washington, DC, a specific, often unidentified, prosecutor will go through the reports and decides whether to bring criminal charges against the person arrested.  This process is referred to as “papering” a case.  When the “papering” prosecutor, decides that a particular arrest should not result in the government filing formal criminal charges against the person arrested, that arrest will be “no papered.”

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