Biggest Mistakes to Avoid at a DC DUI Stop

If you have been accused of driving under the influence in DC, the following are the biggest mistakes you should avoid at a DUI stop according to an experienced DUI attorney in Washington, DC. To discuss your case in more detail and any potential defenses that may be available, call and schedule a free consultation today.


Before the arrest, anyone who is under suspicion of DUI by law enforcement should not admit to any consumption of any drugs or alcohol, and should ask for an attorney as early and as often as you can, because that cannot be held against you. In addition, you do not want to provide any potentially incriminating information to the police about having consumed alcohol or drugs, about where you were going, where you were coming from, how much you had to eat, what time you ate, or how much sleep you had the night before.

All of these things can be factors that the police and the prosecution can try to use against you in arguing that you, in fact, were impaired will be the only evidence the government has. Many times subjective analysis by law enforcement that this person appears to be impaired.

Submitting to Field Sobriety Tests

Field sobriety tests are almost made for people to fail, even if the person completing the test is completely sober. These tests are not mandatory, and there is no additional penalty for failing or declining to take a field sobriety test.

Decisions Regarding Chemical Samples

Finally, there is an important decision to make regarding whether or not to provide a chemical sample (meaning breath, blood or urine). The vast majority of chemical sample requests during a DC DUI stop would be to submit a breathalyzer sample.

This is a decision that should be weighed very, very carefully because there is no mandatory jail sentence for a first offense DUI in D.C., except in some very specific circumstances (the most common of which would be a breath score of 0.20 or above OR a urine score of 0.25 or above). Thus, Individuals facing the decision of whether to take a chemical test should be very concerned that by providing some kind of chemical test, the evidence could then be used to force a mandatory jail sentence if they were to be convicted.

In addition, one of the policies of the Office of the Attorney General (the prosecutors of DUI cases in D.C.) is not to offer a diversion to a defendant who did not comply to the law enforcement request to provide a chemical sample. So, if a person has had simply one or two drinks prior to driving, they might consider whether or not their breath score or chemical test score will be low enough to make them a candidate for diversion. For a breath score, that means under a .10, and for a urine score that means basically under a .12.

Not Immediately Calling an Attorney

It is a very tricky situation to have to decide whether or not you are going to provide that chemical test, and unfortunately, if you have been drinking or under the influence of any kind of alcohol or drugs that is probably the worst time to be put in the position to make that decision. So for that reason, another mistake that an individual can make is failing to immediately call an attorney.