Drunken Driving and the Law in D.C.

Drunken driving is a problem, but a more complicated one than many realize. After all, most people don’t go out into the world every day intending to drink while under the influence. Drunken driving is something that happens for all kinds of reasons, not just because of ignorance or selfishness. Sometimes, it’s a lapse of judgment or a strange set of circumstances. Sometimes, it’s not even drunken driving at all — police and others can, after all, make mistakes.

This is why Washingtonians need to have some understanding of drunken driving law, even if they have not been charged with a DUI themselves. With DUIs, as in many other areas, knowledge is power. Each of us needs to make the best decisions we can, and each of us needs to protect ourselves and our rights, no matter what.

The legal limit in Washington, D.C.

It’s not illegal to have a drink and then drive a car; to be arrested and charged with a DUI, individuals need to be other the legal limit for intoxication. In Washington, D.C., that’s a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 — the same standard that exists virtually everywhere in the country, thanks to the persuasive power of federal funding. Though legal limits are set by the states, a lot of highway funds from Congress hinge on states adopting the .08 standard; in D.C., of course, Congress makes the call).

A BAC of .08 won’t necessarily affect everyone the same way; regular drinkers may be less impaired. Still, it’s the standard the government uses. A BAC of .08 is roughly four drinks over the course of an hour or two, though a lot of factors make this math imprecise, and drinkers should be wary of trying to calculate their maximum under-the-limit intake.

Charges and consequences

The dangers of drunken driving are real. Drunken driving can cause deadly accidents, because being intoxicated limits a person’s ability to drive properly. Unfortunately, being drunk also inhibits decision-making, which can lead to the act of drunken driving itself.

A drunken driving conviction has serious legal consequences. In Washington, D.C., jail time is a possibility even for first-time offenders. An ignition interlock device could be installed on a driver’s car as part of a sentence, and steep fines, license suspensions, and other consequences loom.

What to do if you’re charged with a DUI in Washington, D.C.

Like it or not, regular people can be arrested and charged with DUIs. A simple mistake on the part of a driver — or on the part of police — can put the future of your career, your lifestyle, and your reputation at risk.

A drunken driving charge doesn’t have to be the end of the world, but what you do in the hours and days after being arrested will have everything to do with how dire the consequences are. If you want to protect your rights, your future, your career, and your reputation, then you should focus on one priority above all after a DUI arrest: Getting an attorney.

A dc dui lawyer familiar with cases like yours can make all the difference in the outcome of your case. You could get a reduced sentence or even get off entirely. You may even be able to protect your privacy, helping you to keep your reputation intact. But none of this can happen until you reach out to an attorney, so act fast. Don’t give any information to the police, and get your lawyer in your corner as soon as possible.