Washington, D.C. drivers age 21 and older found to have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher can be charged with driving under the influence (DUI). DUIs are not considered traffic tickets in D.C. Instead, DUIs are handled directly by the police and courts, and they come with severe penalties.
D.C. also enforces implied consent laws. These laws state that any driver within the district is required to submit to alcohol testing whether via breath, blood or urine. Refusal to submit to these tests will lead to further penalties. Furthermore, D.C. institutes a zero tolerance law in terms of underage drinking. If a driver under the age of 21 is found with a BAC of .02 or higher, he or she will be convicted of a DUI.
Washington, D.C. DUI Penalties
A first DUI offense in D.C. will result in a $300 fine and up to 90 days in jail. If a first offender’s BAC registers from .20 to .25, they will spend a minimum of five days in jail. If the level is above .25, the mandatory jail stay is 10 days. First offenders will also have their license suspended for six months.
Offenders who receive a second DUI within 15 years of the first charge will have their license suspended for two years. Second offenders can also spend up to one year in jail based on the BAC level. Second Offenders face higher fines, ranging from $1,000 to $5,000. Additionally, second offenders will have to serve 30 days of community service.
Those charged with three or more DUIs within 15 years of the second offense will receive a minimum jail sentence of 10 days or up to one year. Repeat offenders will also face even higher Washington, D.C. DUI penalties such as 60 days of community service, a two year license suspension and fines ranging from $2,000 to $10,000.
Ignition Interlock Devices in Washington, D.C.
Unlike some states, D.C. will immediately suspend one’s license upon receiving a DUI without waiting for conviction. For repeat offenders, the district has allowed the use of Ignition Interlock Devices (IIDs), devices that require a breath sample before starting the car. IIDs are given in a case by case basis, but can only be used after one year of license revocation if the offender was sentenced to two years or after two years of revocation if the offender was sentenced to three years of revocation. Other restrictions also apply in terms of IIDs.
License Reinstatement in Washington, D.C.
Offenders who have had their licenses suspended must pay a fine in order to retrieve their license once the suspension is completed. However, if an offender’s license was revoked, he or she must attend a hearing in order to determine eligibility to acquire a new license. If the offender is found to be eligible for driving privileges, he or she must then apply for a new license.