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.
And what if I have an out of state license?
People with an out of state license who get arrested in DC for a DUI or DWI have fifteen calendar days to request a hearing. Its important to request that hearing even with an out of state license because the person arrested can lose their driving privileges in DC. What that means is even if you have a valid out of state license, if you get pulled over in DC, you could be arrested for Operating after Suspension (or “OAS”). OAS itself is a misdemeanor that carries a maximum penalty of one year in jail and/or a five thousand dollar fine. Depending on your home state laws and regulations, you could also lose your license. If convicted for DUI, most out of state DMV’s will suspend the person’s license as well. Most times it depends on whether the appropriate paperwork gets sent from DC to the out of state DMV.
The police never read me my rights, can I get my case dismissed?
Even if the police officers do not read you your rights, the government can still prosecute you for any crime. Police officers are supposed to advise people of their rights upon making an arrest. If they fail to do so, and they elicit incriminating information from someone who is in custody, there may be a remedy at trial. The potential remedy would be having your DC DUI and DWI lawyer file a motion to suppress any statements. If the motion is successful, then the government could not use the statements made while in custody against you.
What should I look for in selecting a DC DUI and DWI lawyer?
The consequences for a DUI conviction can involve jail, probation, fines, loss of driving privileges as well as a number of other collateral consequences including exorbitant insurance premiums. Accordingly, its important you look for a DC DUI lawyer with experience trying cases in DC Superior Court who is familiar with the process and the players, including judges and prosecutors. Its important to have someone who will focus on your case and be responsive to your questions and concerns. These cases mostly follow similar patterns and an experienced DUI lawyer can typically give you a range of possible outcomes from best case to worst case scenario. Finally, you want a DUI lawyer who will fight to protect your rights.