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Where You Are Taken Following a DC DUI Arrest

When someone is arrested for driving under the influence in Washington, DC, the first place they are taken is to the local police district to be booked and processed. The person has their photograph and fingerprints taken and is asked to submit to a breath or urine alcohol test.

Importantly, a suspect should know that refusing to submit a breath test could make him or her ineligible for certain more favorable negotiated resolutions in his or her criminal case if his or her blood alcohol content is a relatively low level. However, a person should also know that, if he or she does submit a breath sample for testing and his or her corresponding blood alcohol content is 0.20 or higher, then that blood alcohol content will make him or her subject to a mandatory minimum period of incarceration, even if it is his or her first offense.

Once they are processed at the local police district, police have the option of releasing the person with a citation to appear for the initial court date about three weeks later or holding the person until they can be brought before a judge the following day.

In most first offense DUI cases, the person is released directly from the police station with a citation to appear before a judge for their arraignment. In the event that a person is not released on citation after they are booked at the local police district, they are taken to the central cell block which collects everyone who was arrested from the various police districts to be transported at the same time to the DC Court for arraignment. Regardless of where a person is initially taken following a DC DUI arrest, they should consider consulting a Washington, DC DUI lawyer who can help them handle the charges and any pursuant penalties

Central Booking

Washington, DC has a central cell block located at 300 Indiana Avenue, Northwest, Washington, DC. The central cell block is the holding area where people who have been arrested from the various police districts are gathered to be brought to the DC Court at the same time.

When a person is not being released on citation, they are taken to central cell block after they are finished with the booking process at the local police district. Arrestees who are brought to central cell block by a certain cut-off time are then brought to the DC Court for arraignment and consideration for release.

Differences Between Central Booking and Jail

The central cell block is the holding area for people who were arrested, but have not yet appeared before a judge for their arraignment. If a person is arraigned and a judge determines that they are not eligible to be released while their case is pending, the judge could order that they be detained at the DC jail while their case is pending.

A person may also be detained at DC jail if they are serving a sentence of 1 year of incarceration or less.

DC Jails

The Metropolitan Police Department District Stations are not intended to hold individuals for a very long period of time. As a result, the accommodations at the District Police Stations are typically not very comfortable. A person is usually not given a pillow or sheets or blankets, but is instead placed in a holding cell in which he or she will be held until he or she is released on citation or, if ineligible for citation, transferred to the Central Cell Block.

The Central Cell Block is also only intended to hold people for a maximum of 48 hours, meaning that the Central Cell Block facilities are also not designed for comfort. As this facility is not a comfortable place, the goal is absolutely to get a person out of detention as quickly as humanly possible.

Jail Time For a DUI in DC

The maximum penalty a person receives for a first offense DUI case is 180 days of jail. In most first offense DUIs, a person is not facing any mandatory jail time, so their incarceration exposure ranges from zero days to 180 days of jail time.

On a first offense DUI, a person would face mandatory jail time if they have a Blood Alcohol Content of 0.20 percent or higher. When their Blood Alcohol Content is 0.20 percent or higher, they face a mandatory minimum 10 days of jail. Their mandatory minimum period of incarceration increases as their Blood Alcohol Content increases.

When a person who has no criminal charges and who is not under any type of court supervision has been arrested for driving under the influence, that person would typically be released from the district police station after he or she has been booked and processed.

The time period that a person would be waiting at the district police station before his or her release is usually about three hours. Sometimes, if that particular district station is not very busy, then the booking and processing time might be less than three hours.

Second DUI Offenses

For a second offense DUI, the maximum penalty increases from 180 days of jail to one year of jail. That same maximum penalty applies for a second offense, a third offense, and any subsequent offense after that. For a second offense, the mandatory minimum jail time a person could receive increases from zero days up to 10 days of jail.

When a person has a combination of prior DUI cases and high Blood Alcohol Content scores, the combination of those two factors increase the possible mandatory jail time a person faces. A DC DUI attorney can try to help to mitigate DUI penalties, no matter how serious.

Mandatory Minimums

A mandatory minimum period of incarceration means the judge does not have the discretion to give the person less than that period of jail time. For example, if a person is arrested for a first offense DUI, provides the breath sample and is determined to have a blood alcohol content of .20 or higher, that person faces a mandatory minimum 10 days of jail.

If the prosecutor uses that score and the judge finds that score to be reliable after hearing the necessary testimony, the judge is not permitted under the law to give the person less than 10 days of jail. That 10-day period of time cannot be divided up between weekends and cannot be served under house arrest or be replaced with community service.