Driver’s License Penalties 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 police district to be booked and processed. The person has their fingerprints taken as well as photos and its then asked to submit to a breath or urine alcohol test. However, in addition to these criminal penalties, an individual will likely be subject to penalties against their license as well. In order to deal with each of these, a DC DUI lawyer should be contacted as soon as possible to help deal with the penalties and build a strong defense.

Driver’s License Penalties

A person who is arrested in DC may be served with a Notice of Proposed Revocation. The driver receives the pink copy of the form to notify them that they have 10 days if they have a DC driver’s license or 15 days if they are a resident outside of the jurisdiction to go to the DC DMV and request a hearing on the proposed license revocation.

If they fail to go to the DC DMV to request a hearing and they are DC resident with a DC license, their driver’s license is revoked for at least six months and possibly longer depending on whether they refused the chemical test or have prior revocations for serious offenses like a DUI. If a person is a resident outside of the jurisdiction, they lose their privilege to drive within the District of Columbia for six months.

When someone has a valid driver’s license and is arrested for DUI in DC, they are given a Notice of Proposed Revocation. They can still drive legally during the 10 days if they are a DC resident. However, if they fail to request a hearing for the proposed revocation, they cannot drive on the 11th day because their license is revoked. If a person is licensed outside of DC they have 15 days to request a hearing and can continue to drive up until the hearing date and perhaps even after depending on the results of the hearing.

DMV Hearing

When a person goes to the DMV and requests a hearing on the proposed revocation, the DMV sets a hearing date between 30 to 60 days after the request is made. This issue is separate from the DUI criminal case. However, a person’s driver’s license is usually an important factor for them in a DUI case. When someone requests a hearing to stop the DMV from automatically revoking their privilege to drive until the hearing date, that person has the opportunity to appear at the hearing and contest the grounds for the DUI arrest and the taking of their driving privileges. That is one thing that is specific to the DMV.

Steps to Take

There are other things that an individual should do immediately following a DUI arrest in DC. If the driver has any prior DUI arrests or convictions within the previous 15 years no matter the jurisdiction, that person should consider enrolling in private alcohol treatment. When someone has a prior conviction, it is likely that the court requires a pre-trial services assessment and orders the person to participate in some form of alcohol treatment.

It is better to identify and enroll in alcohol treatment as early as possible. It can be extremely helpful for someone who may have an alcohol problem and useful for the attorney when dealing with the court and the prosecution at the beginning of the case. Another step someone should take after they are arrested is to seek legal counsel as soon as possible. There are steps that a person’s lawyer can take such as having an investigator go out as early as possible to find any witnesses who can testify where the person was prior to being arrested.

When there is an allegation that the person was at a bar or restaurant consuming alcohol, it can be helpful to find witnesses who can testify about the exact time the person was at the establishment and how much alcohol they consumed in that time. There may even be video camera footage from the place where the individual spent time before being arrested. There may be video footage from traffic cameras or other outside video footage that captured the arrest or investigation that can be extremely useful for the defense.

Recent Changes in Law

Recently, the DC DMV began requesting and receiving notification when someone with a DUI case enters a deferred sentencing agreement or diversion program. In the past, when someone entered into a deferred sentencing program and the DC DMV discovered that fact, they had the legal authority to revoke the person’s DC driver’s license or an outside resident’s ability to drive by treating the deferred sentencing agreement as a conviction because there is a guilty plea involved.

Oftentimes the DC DMV did not find out about it, but that is in the past. They now seek and get notice almost immediately after an individual enters into a deferred sentencing agreement. A person must be aware that if they are convicted of a DUI or the lesser charge of Operating While Impaired (OWI), or even if they entered into a diversion agreement through a deferred sentencing agreement, the DC DMV finds out almost immediately and takes action to suspend the person’s license or privilege to drive in DC.

Contacting an Attorney

It is important for a person to have an attorney who can take these steps as early as possible. Sometimes video footage is taped over, lost, or just thrown out. Witnesses move, cannot be located, or forget. Acting quickly within the first few days after a person is arrested ensures that the attorney is in a position to capture all of this potential evidence.

Driver’s License Penalties Following a DC DUI Arrest