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DUI Penalties in Washington, DC & Virginia

Fighting to Reduce or Dismiss Your DUI Punishments

A driver can face several detrimental consequences if convicted of an alcohol-related driving offense such as DUI in the District of Columbia or Virginia. These consequences can vary based on the amount of alcohol one has in their system, as well as the number of prior alcohol-related convictions. Penalties generally increase with prior offenses, which makes it a good idea to consult with an experienced DUI attorney at S.L. England, PLLC. Our lawyer can review the evidence against you and help fight against a criminal conviction on your behalf.

When considering the penalties associated with an alcohol-related offense, it is important to know that the maximum penalties are just that – the maximum potential penalties. Fortunately, most people do not end up serving the maximum amount of jail time for an alcohol-related offense. Depending on the circumstances, however, there may be mandatory minimum amounts of jail time required by law for a DUI in both Washington, DC and Virginia.

To learn how our lawyer can serve you, reach out to us online or at (202) 759-2333!

DUI Penalties in the District of Columbia

The crime of driving under the influence (DUI) occurs in the District of Columbia if an individual:

  • operates or is in physical control of any vehicle while intoxicated, or
  • operates or is in physical control of any vehicle while under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or a combination of drugs and alcohol.

“Physical control” involves conduct such as sitting in a parked car in the driveway with the keys in the ignition while listening to the radio. It can also include sleeping in a car with the keys in the ignition or even being in the car with the car keys in one’s pocket.

In certain circumstances, one may lose their driving privileges as a consequence of a DUI conviction. Under the DC Code, when a person with two prior DUI, DWI, or OWI offenses within the past five years is sentenced on a subsequent DUI or DWI, they will lose their driver’s license, meaning their privilege to operate a motor vehicle in the District of Columbia will be revoked.

The driver’s license revocation period lasts for five years. After that period ends, a person may apply for reinstatement of their driving privileges, however, reinstatement is not automatic. Instead, the DC DMV is only required to reinstate a person’s driver’s license upon a showing of good cause to do so. This may also require a person to pay all fines and fees and other conditions to get their driver’s license back.

Additional legal penalties upon a DUI conviction in DC may apply:

First offense: Punishable by up to $1,000 fines and/or a maximum of 180 days in jail. The mandatory minimum jail time is as follows:

  • 10 days: 0.20 grams/ml blood, 210 liters breath, or .25 grams/100 ml urine
  • 15 days: 0.25 grams/ml blood, 210 liters breath, or .32 grams/100 ml urine
  • 20 days: 0.30 grams/ml blood, 210 liters breath, or .39 grams/100 ml urine
  • 15 days: Blood or urine contains a Schedule 1 chemical or controlled substance

Second offense: Punishable by $2,500 to $5,000 fines and/or 10 days to 1 year in jail. The mandatory minimum jail time is as follows:

  • 15 days: 0.20 grams/ml blood, 210 liters breath, or .25 grams/100 ml urine
  • 20 days: 0.25 grams/ml blood, 210 liters breath, or .32 grams/100 ml urine
  • 25 days: 0.30 grams/ml blood, 210 liters breath, or .39 grams/100 ml urine
  • 20 days: Blood or urine contains a Schedule 1 chemical or controlled substance

Third offense: Punishable by $2,500 to $10,000 fines and/or 15 days to 1 year in jail. The mandatory minimum jail time is as follows:

  • 20 days: 0.20 grams/ml blood, 210 liters breath, or .25 grams/100 ml urine
  • 25 days: 0.25 grams/ml blood, 210 liters breath, or .32 grams/100 ml urine
  • 30 days: 0.30 grams/ml blood, 210 liters breath, or .39 grams/100 ml urine
  • 25 days: Blood or urine contains a Schedule 1 chemical or controlled substance

Fourth offense: Punishable by up to $10,000 fines and an additional 30-day mandatory minimum term of incarceration for each additional violation.

Virginia DUI Penalties

It is illegal to operate a motor vehicle, boat, or watercraft while impaired or with a blood alcohol content of .08 in the state of Virginia, as it is a DUI offense. If convicted, a person may suffer the following legal consequences:

First offense: $250 mandatory minimum fine and one-year driver’s license revocation. For a first DUI offense and/or breath test refusal, the VA DMV will automatically suspend a license for seven days.

Second offense: $500 mandatory minimum fine, three-year driver’s license revocation, and a possible jail term of one year. For a second DUI offense and/or breath test refusal, the VA DMV will automatically suspend a license for 60 days.

  • Second offense within five years of prior offense: Mandatory minimum of 20 days in jail
  • Second offense within 10 years of prior offense: Mandatory minimum of 10 days in jail

Third offense or DWI felony: Class 6 felony punishable by $1,000 mandatory minimum fine and mandatory indefinite driver’s license revocation.

  • Third offense within five years in prior offense: Mandatory minimum of six months in jail
  • Third offense within 10 years of prior offense: Mandatory minimum of 90 days in jail and permanent vehicle forfeiture if a person is the sole owner
  • Three DUI convictions within 10 years: Mandatory indefinite driver’s license revocation

Fourth or subsequent offense: Mandatory minimum of one year in jail

BAC between .15 and .20 at the time of arrest: Mandatory minimum of five days in jail in addition to all other penalties for a first offense, while a second offense within 10 years carries a mandatory minimum 10-day jail sentence in addition to all other penalties.

BAC of .20 or higher at the time of arrest: Mandatory minimum 10-day jail sentence in addition to all other penalties for a first offense and a mandatory minimum 20-day jail sentence along with all other penalties for a second offense within 10 years.

Facing DUI Charges in Washington, DC or Virginia?

If you are facing criminal charges due to an alcohol-related offense in DC or Virginia, you need experienced legal counsel. Alcohol-related charges can be challenged in court under a variety of different legal theories including, but not limited to:

  • The basis for the stop of the vehicle
  • The legality of the request for one to participate in roadside testing
  • The validity of the test result
  • The accuracy of the testing
  • The chain of custody for a blood or urine sample
  • The validity of the conclusions
  • The reliability of the instrumentation used to test for the presence of alcohol or drugs

Every decision made by the government, along with every conclusion drawn, is subject to legal challenge. That’s why you should contact S.L. England, PLLC today to review the facts and circumstances of your case. We will meet with you to review the evidence, the charges, and explore possible defenses you may have.

Call (202) 759-2333 to schedule a free consultation and get started! We offer same-day appointments and availability after hours and on weekends.

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