Washington DC DUI FAQ’s
DC DUI lawyer Jason Kalafat answers some frequently asked questions about driving under the influence, driving while intoxicated, and operating while impaired in the District of Columbia. These are listed immediately below.
- I was never read my Miranda rights during a traffic stop. Is that legal?
- What might the prosecutor offer me as a plea to a DUI charge?
- What can happen when I go to trial for a DUI?
- Is there mandatory jail time for DUI in DC?
- Will my job find out if I have been charged with a DUI?
- Am I eligible for diversion for a first time DUI offense in DC?
Here are some other frequently asked questions:
- If I’ve already failed my Breathalyzer test, is there any hope of avoiding conviction?
- What should I do if I am pulled over?
- I’ve received a DUI; is there anything I need to do immediately?
- What will happen to my insurance?
- What if I’m under 21 and caught with a fake ID?
- More statute-specific DC DUI-related questions
- Should I refuse a breathalyzer test?
- Should I refuse to take a field sobriety test?
- Will my license be suspended following a DUI arrest?
- If I passed the standardized field sobriety tests, why was I still arrested?
If I’ve already failed my Breathalyzer test, is there any hope of avoiding conviction?
Yes. Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) readings from breathalyzer tests are not infallible. There are many variables involved in the complex process of measuring BAC. The prosecution has the burden of proving that each instrument was properly maintained, certified, calibrated, and administered when determining your BAC. An experienced DC DUI attorney knows the weaknesses of BAC evidence and will fight to exclude and/or attack the validity of the test results in each case.
What should I do if I am pulled over?
When you are pulled over by police, regardless of the circumstance, always be courteous. If it is dark outside, turn on your overhead light. Put your hands on the wheel in plain view and never argue with the officer. The goal is to put the officer at ease, as he or she must constantly be on high alert in each of these encounters. Have your registration card, proof of insurance, and license organized and in an easily accessible location. These thoughtful responses to law enforcement convey a sense of personal control and respect for the officer that he or she will likely pay back in kind.
While being polite is necessary, discussing anything besides your personal information is not required. In the event that you are under suspicion for any criminal offense, including a DUI, you are not required to engage in a dialogue that may lead to self-incrimination. If an officer begins to ask questions concerning your ingestion of alcohol or drugs, you are not required to answer and instead should politely request to speak to an attorney.
If the officer believes that you may be impaired by alcohol or drugs, you will almost always be asked to perform several Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs). You are NOT required to perform SFSTs, and should carefully consider whether you are willing to give the officer additional evidence of your possible impairment through your performance on the SFSTs.
I’ve received a DUI; is there anything I need to do immediately?
When you are charged with a DUI in Washington, DC, you will most likely receive a Notice of Proposed Suspension. If you are a resident of Washington, DC, you will have 10 days to request a Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) hearing to prevent your license from being suspended. If you are not a DC resident, the time limit is extended to 15 days. Contact a reliable DC DUI attorney at once to begin organizing a defense for the DMV hearing as well as for the criminal case itself.
What will happen to my insurance?
A drunk driving conviction will likely increase the cost of your current rates or cause your policy to cancel altogether. Some estimates show that insurance premiums may increase by over 300% in five years. Your individual rates will definitely be affected, and so might the rates of your family members or employer if you were operating someone else’s vehicle at the time of the arrest.
What if I’m under 21 and caught with a fake ID?
Underage drinking and using a fake ID to obtain alcohol illegal are offenses that are taken quite seriously in the District of Columbia. With so many colleges and schools in the region, DC authorities have taken a hard line on this issue in the interest of public safety. If you, or your son or daughter, have been charged with using a fake identification card to buy and drink alcohol, you should speak with an attorney who is familiar with the potential consequences you may face. These can range from fines to jail time, in extreme cases, and can jeopardize your academic and potential professional career. You can read more about the risks and potential consequences here.
If you are facing a DUI charge in the state of Maryland, we also provide legal services in that state. Visit Seth Okin’s website for more information and a free consultation.