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Summary of District of Columbia Laws

Traffic Offenses, Criminal Law, and Misdemeanors

Alcohol/Drug Related Offenses, DC Code §50- 2205.01 et seq.

Driving While Intoxicated (DWI): If one's blood-alcohol content is at least .08% or one's urine-alcohol content is at least .10%, it is a per se violation to operate or be in control of a motor vehicle. If one is under 21 years old, it is a violation to have any measurable amount of alcohol while operating or controlling a vehicle. The Code defines "operate" as physical control including driving, moving, pushing, steering, or parking on a public highway. See DC Code § 50-2206

Driving Under the Influence (DUI): Under D.C. law, it is prima facie evidence that one was operating a vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor if the defendant's blood-alcohol content is from .05% to .07%. The government may prosecute for either operating a vehicle while under the influence or for operating a vehicle while impaired by the consumption of intoxicating liquor if one's blood-alcohol content is .01% or more. Also note that the government can prosecute when no blood-alcohol test was taken. See DC Code § 50-2206.11-18.

Operating While Impaired (OWI): This provision of the Code is used as a "breakdown" charge by the prosecutor and serves to increase the effectiveness of enforcement and prosecution of similar offenses though it is never actually charged to an individual. 

Driving under the Influence of Drugs: DC Code § 50-2206.01 et seq.

Using a False ID: D.C. law prohibits anyone from presenting a fraudulent identification for the purpose of entering an establishment with a license to serve alcoholic beverages. See D.C. Code Ann. § 25-1002 (a)(2). For Federal Law, see 18 USCS § 1028.

In addition to a DUI or DWI charge you can be charged additional penalties, including mandatory jail time if you were driving with a minor in the vehicle, have a BAC of 0.20% or more, are under age and lied or used a false ID to buy alcohol or in possession or under the influence of drugs.

Penalties for Driving while under the Influence of alcohol or a drug-DC Code § 50-2206.13

(a) Except for those with prior offenses,  a person violating any provision of § 50-2206.11 or § 50-2206.12 shall upon conviction for the first offense be fined $1,000, or incarcerated for not more than 180 days, or both; provided, that:

(1) A 10-day mandatory-minimum term of incarceration shall be imposed if the person’s alcohol concentration was at least 0.20 grams per 100 milliliters of blood or per 210 liters of breath, or was at least 0.25 grams per 100 milliliters of urine; or

(2) A 15-day mandatory-minimum term of incarceration shall be imposed if the person’s alcohol concentration was more than 0.25 grams per 100 milliliters of blood or per 210 liters of breath or 0.32 grams per 100 milliliters of urine; or

(3) A 20-day mandatory-minimum term of incarceration shall be imposed if the person’s alcohol concentration was more than 0.30 grams per 100 milliliters of blood or per 210 liters of breath or 0.39 grams per 100 milliliters of urine; and

(4) A 15-day mandatory-minimum term of incarceration shall be imposed if the person’s blood or urine contains a Schedule I chemical or controlled substance as listed in § 48-902.04, Phencyclidine, Cocaine, Methadone, Morphine, or one of its active metabolites or analogs.

 

 

Resources

 

 MPD penalties for drinking and driving

Thomas v. DC, 942 A. 2d 645, DC Court of Appeals 2008

Evidence was sufficient to support a finding of guilt in prosecution for driving under the influence of marijuana; trained officers testified that defendant's eyes were bloodshot, that he sweated profusely on a day that was neither hot nor humid, that he failed a sobriety test that could indicate possible impairment from narcotics, and that he leaned on his car to maintain his balance, defendant refused to undergo urinalysis and essentially admitted guilt when he said, “You got me,” officers concluded that defendant was under influence of alcohol or a drug, and marijuana and a piece of paper that resembled a joint that had been smoked were found in defendant's car.

 

 

updated mlo 11/10/17