Impaired Driving; Understanding Washington DC DUI Penalties

Impaired Driving; Understanding Washington DC DUI Penalties

Oct 14, 2021, 1:33:31 PM Opinion

Even the most careful driver, at times, gets into accidents. Nonetheless, an accident is always someone’s responsibility, whether avoidable or not. Among the avoidable situations is driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs. Impaired driving is among the top causes of auto accidents, and as states strive to keep the rates low, you face severe consequences should you be charged with a DUI. Impaired driving is categorized into three types. DUI (Driving Under the Influence), DWI (Driving While Intoxicated), and OWI (Operating While Impaired). Regardless of your situation, working with an experienced DC DUI lawyer is essential to help you understand the implications and tailor an effective defense strategy. Here is a quick look at the DC’s impaired driving possible penalties.

OWI penalties

OWI doesn’t come with as harsh penalties as is the case with a DUI and DWI. The first case carries a $500 fine with the maximum jail term set at 90 days. The second case within 15 years attracts a $1000-$2500 fine and up to a year in jail. You’ll get a 5-days mandatory jail sentence. Third and subsequent offenses within 15 years attract a $1000-$5000 fine, a one-year jail term, and a minimum of ten days jail sentence.


Driving while intoxicated means that the blood alcohol level is 0.08% or higher. This carries serious consequences, including automatic license suspension. In case a driver is aged 21 or below, any measurable alcohol content can lead to a conviction. Driving under the influence means that your BAC is 0.05, and there is evidence of noticeable impairment. The penalties vary following considerations such as the BAC level, driving record, and evidence of unsafe driving, not to mention the consequences if you are in an accident. Loss of life or significant injuries, for example, makes the penalties a lot more severe. The penalties range from community service, jail time, community service, and fines. Here is a look at the common DWI and DUI penalties in DC.

First offense

The first case usually carries less punitive consequences. This is, especially if the driving record is not as tainted and an accident didn’t happen. The first offense attracts fines up to $ 1000 and 180 jail days. The judge has to impose a mandatory jail sentence as follows;

·        Ten days if BAC is over 0.20

·        15 days for BAC over 0.25

·        20 days if BAC is above 0.30/100 mm of blood

Second offense

Your record is not n your favor, meaning that more punitive measures have to be considered. The second DUI offense committed with 15 years of the previous charge attracts fines between $2500 to $5000, and 1-year jail time, with a minimum of 10 days.

Apart from the record, if you had a passenger, it also counts. If you are driving impaired with a passenger below 17 years, you’ll incur an additional fine of $500 per child for the first offense. The second and subsequent offenses attract $1000 per child. If the child is restrained, you’ll get a minimum of a 5-days jail sentence and ten days if they are unrestrained.

While navigating the DUI cases, an overlooked yet essential consideration is whether you were driving or not. Even if you don’t move your car an inch, you can still be charged and convicted. If you are behind the wheels, with keys inserted in the ignition, under the law, you have control of the car. With its complexity, enlisting a DC DUI Lawyer can’t be emphasized enough to facilitate better results.

Published by Simon Hopes

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