DWI Laws in the District of Columbia (DC)

Laws and penalties for DWI in the District of Columbia (DC).

Related Ads

Need Professional Help? Talk to a Lawyer

Enter Your Zip Code to Connect with a Lawyer Serving Your Area

searchbox small

In D.C., you can get a DWI if you drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher, regardless of whether your driving ability was actually impaired. And the law in the District of Columbia says that if you are driving a vehicle, you have given consent to submit to a chemical test for the purpose of determining the amount of alcohol in your blood. Here are some details on the consequences of refusing to take a chemical test in D.C. and other details about D.C. DWI law.

In the District of Columbia, what are the consequences of refusing to take a chemical test (usually a breathalyzer or blood test) when suspected of DWI?

Here are the consequences for not taking a breathalyzer or blood test in D.C., broken out by whether this is your first, second, or third offense:

1st offense

2nd offense

3rd offense

1 year license suspension

1 year license suspension

1 year license suspension

In D.C., when do police have to measure your blood alcohol content (BAC)?

In D.C., law enforcement officers are supposed to measure your BAC at the time of driving. However, prosecutors may be able to prove your culpability for DWI even if your BAC is taken later than this time.

What is the maximum BAC for drivers under 21 in DC?

In D.C., the maximum blood alcohol content (BAC) for drivers who are under 21 (considered minors under some drinking and driving laws) is 0%. D.C. is a "zero tolerance" jurisdiction.

What are the minimum jail times for a DWI in District of Columbia?

Here are the minimum jail times for a DWI in District of Columbia, broken out by whether this is your first, second, or third offense:

1st offense

2nd offense

3rd offense

No minimum required jail term, unless BAC is measured at .20% or higher, in which case 5 days jail is required (15 days if .25% or higher)

5 days jail or 30 days community service

10 days jail or 60 days community service

How long will prior DWI convictions remain relevant for sentencing purposes in the District of Columbia?

In D.C., prior DWI convictions stay on your record (and can be counted against you when you are being sentenced for another DUI/DWI offense) for 15 years.

Can a DWI be “pleaded down” to a "wet reckless" in the District of Columbia?

A defendant might receive a "wet reckless," or a conviction of reckless driving involving alcohol, as a result of a plea bargain in which a charge of drunk driving is reduced to a case of reckless driving. There is no statutory provision on whether a wet reckless plea bargain will be accepted in your state, but it's possible a lawyer may be able to create a plea bargain for you.

If you are interested in contacting a lawyer, you can find a D.C. DWI lawyer in Nolo's Lawyer Directory.

Are ignition interlock devices (IIDs) required for convicted DWI offenders in D.C.?

Yes, for second and subsequent offenses.

Where can I get more information about DWI laws in the District of Columbia?

Nolo's DUI/DWI topic has many helpful articles, including a Drunk Driving, DUI, and DWI FAQ. For more help after a DWI arrest, see Nolo's Lawyer Directory, where you can view in-depth profiles of D.C. DWI attorneys in your area.

Last updated on 09/01/2010.

Talk to a DUI Lawyer

Start here to find lawyers near you.
HOW IT WORKS
how it works 1
Briefly tell us about your case
how it works 2
Provide your contact information
how it works 1
Connect with local attorneys
LA-NOLO2:DRU.1.6.3.20141021.28794