Driving While Intoxicated Cases in DC

DWI is not separately charged as its own offense. Rather it’s a method by which prosecutors can prove appreciable impairment in order to try and convict someone of driving under the influence. Therefore if you are facing DWI charges it is important you consult with a DC DWI lawyer who understands the distinction and can advocate for your rights in court. Call today to schedule a consultation and learn more.

DWI BAC Requirements

The BAC requirement for a DWI is .08 or higher for breath alcohol content and .10 or higher for urine alcohol content. If there’s a blood sample drawn, then the BAC requirement is the same as for breath, .08.

Penalties for Driving While Intoxicated in DC

There are no separate legal penalties for having a blood alcohol content or urine alcohol content of .08 or higher.

The evidence of breath, blood or urine would be used in order to be able to convict someone of a driving under the influence charge. And if they are convicted then their maximum penalty would be 180 days in jail for a first offense or 1 year for a second or subsequent offense.

The minimum penalty for driving under the influence conviction with a breath score or blood score above .08 or a urine score of .10 or higher is zero days minimum, meaning a person is not facing any mandatory jail time. But if the BAC is at a .20 or higher, then the minimum penalty is 10 days in jail.

If the urine alcohol content is .25 or higher, then the minimum mandatory amount of jail remains at 10 days. That mandatory minimum period of jail time increases as the breath, blood or alcohol score also increases past .20.

Driving While Intoxicated in Washington, DC

When someone is charged with driving under the influence, there are two elements that a prosecutor needs to prove. The first is that the person was operating or in physical control of a vehicle. And the second is that the person was appreciably impaired by alcohol, drugs, medication or a combination of the three.

In order to be able to prove that someone is under the influence, or appreciably impaired by alcohol, there needs to be evidence such as performance on field sobriety tests and general impressions of the suspect. The person might have slurred speech, bloodshot and red or watery eyes, difficulty standing up straight. The prosecutors would have to use a lot of different factors in order to be able to prove a person’s impairment.

However, if the suspect provides a breath sample at the police station and that person’s breath alcohol content comes back as .08 or higher, then that score alone is considered sufficient to be able to prove that a person is under the influence of alcohol.

If a person provides a urine sample and their urine alcohol content is .10 or higher, that would be sufficient evidence to prove that a person is under the influence of alcohol without any additional evidence.