How Do DC Courts Treat Third Offense DUI’s?

Courts treat third offense DUIs very seriously. On a first offense DUI, judges often find that incarceration is not necessary because it can be seen as a common mistake anyone can make one time.

In a second offense DUI situation, judges are more inclined to impose more severe penalties and, in fact, are not permitted to give a person less than 10 days of jail. However, on a third offense DUI, judges in those situations can frequently feel that a person simply has not gotten the message of why driving under the influence is a problem and may require penalties significantly higher than simply the mandatory minimum penalties that a person would legally face.

Because of that risk that the judges often feel are posed by third offender DUIs, their inclination to give more severe incarceration periods is much higher therefore making contact with an DUI lawyer in DC imperative.

Third DUIs vs First/Second DUIs

Third offense DUI charges are prosecuted very vigorously by the Attorney General’s Office. Because they’re eligible for increased mandatory minimum levels of jail time and because there’s been increased political pressure against the District of Columbia to up the possible penalties that people face for third offense DUIs, prosecutors almost always seek serious jail time which can include potentially months of incarceration beyond the mandatory minimum level of incarceration that are written in to DC laws. The DC Attorney General’s Office sees third time DUI offenders as a significant risk to the public safety. As a result, they aggressively move forward on these charges and seek significant period of jail time. Therefore, it’s a responsibility of defense attorneys to address and defend these cases with the utmost zeal.

Punishments can include ignition interlock periods, community service, higher fines or more intensive types of treatment programs that would require lengthier supervision periods while on probation.

Summary of Possible Third DUI Penalties

Unfortunately, the consequences of being convicted of a DUI in DC are not limited to the legal penalties for the alleged offense. Instead, you can also face administrative proceedings against your driving privileges as well as a host of consequences that can negatively impact your life. Below is a quick overview of the possible consequences of a third DUI in DC.


The legal consequences of being convicted of a third time DUI are that a person would receive a mandatory minimum 15 days of jail and up to 1 year of jail. The possible fine a person could face would be from $2,500 up to $10,000. That doesn’t include any potential court cost payments that a person might have to pay which range from $100 to $250.

DMV (Driver’s License)

Outside of the legal consequences, a person also faces the mandatory 2 year revocation of their driving privileges. The other consequences to a third offense DUI would include potentially significant increases in car insurance premiums or your car insurance potentially dropping you from their coverage completely.

Other Consequences

It could also include loss of employment as a result of the mandatory minimum jail time that a person faces, the possible loss of security clearances and the burden of any probation requirements which can include intensive outpatient treatments, possible regular drug testing or the imposition of ignition interlock.

Where Are The Third Offense DUI Charges Heard In The District of Columbia?

Third offense DUI charges in Washington, DC are prosecuted by the DC Attorney General’s Office and are heard before judges at the Superior Court for the District of Columbia.