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DC First Offense DUI Charges

When it comes to DUI charges, even a first conviction can have serious consequences, so it can be a mistake to take your arrest lightly. Get help fighting the charges so you can try to develop the best strategic approach to minimize the chances of conviction or possible penalties you face. Experienced DC DUI attorneys are ready to build a defense to your charges.

First DUI Charges

The Comprehensive Impaired Driving Act of 2012 (pdf) imposed stricter penalties for first-time impaired driving withinDC. The law also imposed new oversight for breath-testing programs within DC.

One of the main reasons the law was passed was DC had been forced to suspend its breath testing program the prior year after a consultant found nearly 400 convictions were based on inaccurate test results. The tests were showing inflated blood alcohol concentration levels, and people were being arrested and charged for driving impaired even when below the legal limit.

A DC DUI first offense attorney who handles DUI cases in the DC knows that many people who are charged with impaired driving assume they have few options when their BAC is .08 or higher. The reality, however, is that DC’s past history shows that evidence is imperfect and that mistakes are made with breathalyzers. A person can always try to challenge their impaired driving charges and they should explore possible ways they can make it difficult or impossible for a prosecutor to prove the case against them.

An experienced DUI first offense attorney in DC can help defendants who have been charged with a DUI for the first time to explore whether they have viable defenses, can get charges dropped, or should seek to negotiate a plea agreement. Based on the specifics of the evidence against them, someone’s attorney should be able to help them craft an appropriate legal approach designed to get them the best outcome they can under the circumstances.

Consequences of a First DUI

Consequences of a first DUI vary depending upon a person’s blood alcohol concentration at the time of the incident, as well as depending upon whether there are aggravating factors like an accident causing injury or property damage. A first-time offender could face a $1,000 fine and up to 180 days of jail time. With a BAC of .20 or above, there is a mandatory minimum of 10 days incarceration.

Among possible consequences like fines, jail time, and a driver’s license suspension is the fact that a first conviction is going to go on a person’s driving record and on their criminal record. This means higher motor vehicle insurance costs and possible disqualification from some career, educational, and even volunteer opportunities. It also means they will face harsher penalties if they are arrested for impaired driving again, since penalties become progressively worse with successive convictions. It is important to consult with a DUI lawyer who can help avoid such harsh punishments.

If someone has no history of impaired driving, a prosecutor and judge may be willing to allow them to plead down to a lesser charge or to enter a pre-trial diversion program called a deferred sentencing agreement. While these options are not as good as a not guilty verdict, they can help someone to minimize the long and short-term consequences of a DUI conviction.

Contacting an Attorney

A first offense DUI still must be taken seriously. Contact a DC DUI first offense lawyer when you are facing charges to get help fighting the charges that have been brought against you.