Washington DC Second-Offense DUI Lawyer

In some ways, DUI laws in Washington DC are not as harsh as in neighboring jurisdictions, but in other respects, the laws are much tougher. The DC code establishes mandatory minimum jail sentences in many DUI situations including instances where a driver has a prior conviction.

To keep the sanctions to a minimum and protect driving privileges, it is wise to consult a Washington DC second-offense DUI lawyer if you are facing charges for a subsequent DUI offense. A criminal lawyer familiar with fighting DWI/DUI/OWI charges could help you work toward a positive outcome.

Mandatory Minimum Sentences

When a statute includes a mandatory minimum sentence, the judge setting the sentence does not have the discretion to impose anything less than the minimum, although the court may impose a longer sentence up to the limit allowed in the statute. For a second DUI offense, D.C. Code §50-2206.13 specifies that those convicted will receive a mandatory 10-day minimum term of imprisonment.

This minimum sentence increases substantially if the individual was found to have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.20 or higher (or 0.25 for a urine test). The minimum sentence also increases when a driver’s blood or urine shows evidence of a “Schedule I” controlled substance or phencyclidine, cocaine, methadone, or morphine. Schedule I drugs include heroin, LSD, and ecstasy.

The following minimum sentences apply under the statute for those convicted of a second DUI offense:

  • No aggravating factors – 10 days
  • BAC between .20 and .24 – 15 days
  • BAC between .25 and .29 – 20 days
  • Schedule I or other listed controlled substance – 20 days
  • BAC of .30 or higher – 25 days

A Washington DC second-offense DUI lawyer could explain the mandatory minimum sentence that applies in a particular case.

Maximum Sentences for a Second DUI

The penalties for DUI convictions in Washington DC include both criminal fines, terms of incarceration, and loss of driving privileges. Suspension of a driver’s license is usually addressed in a separate hearing from DUI which is a criminal matter.

Under D.C. Code §50-2206.13(b), those convicted of a second DUI will be required to pay a fine of at least $2,500 and possibly as high as $5,000. A second-offense DUI lawyer in Washington DC will present arguments to support the imposition of the lowest possible fine. Convicted drivers may be sentenced to up to one year in jail as well.

What Constitutes a Subsequent Conviction

Many drivers in DC do not realize that their first conviction for DUI could actually be treated as a second conviction. That is because D.C. Code §50-2206.13(b) penalizes someone for a second conviction if they have previously violated the DUI provisions or been convicted of the lesser offense of “operating a vehicle while impaired” or OWI. So, when a driver found guilty of OWI is later convicted of DUI for the first time, that will be treated as a second conviction for sentencing purposes.

Washington DC second-offense DUI lawyers know that the “look-back period” for DUI offenses in Washington DC is 15 years. That means the courts look back for up to 15 years to see whether a driver has a prior conviction for an offense when determining whether to consider a current situation as a first or subsequent offense.

Contact a Washington DC Second-Offense DUI Attorney Today

The potential penalties for a second DUI can have a tremendous impact on your life. If you have been charged with a DUI and have a prior DWI, DUI or OWI on your record, it is wise to begin working with an experienced DUI attorney who can advocate on your behalf right away.

In many situations, a knowledgeable Washington DC second-offense DUI lawyer could negotiate more lenient terms, including those involving suspension of your driver’s license. Your defense attorney will also use all available resources to fight the charges and protect your rights. To learn how a DUI lawyer could help in your situation, call for a free consultation.