FAQs - Washington, D.C. DUI & Criminal Attorneys
Q. Why Was I Arrested If I Passed The Field Sobriety Tests?
A. Most clients tell me I "passed" the field sobriety tests.*** However, most do not know what the officer is looking for nor the nuances of the tests. For example, a client will take ten (10), or more steps, as opposed to the instructed nine (9) in an attempt to convince the officer that he/she is fine. In reality, the officer counts that as a clue of impairment: inability/failure to follow instructions.
The Walk & Turn (W&T) and One-Legged Stand (OLS) tests, in particular, are "divided attention" tests 'designed' to ascertain whether or not the subject can execute multiple tasks at the same time. Judges, I've found over the years, tend to believe the cop unless there is just so much discrepancy in evidence. Prosecutors argue, credibly enough, that the officer has "no reason to lie" on this individual he or she is meeting for the first time.
What to do? If you submit to the tests then that provides the evidence and forms the basis of the prosecutor's case against you. If you refuse – obviate the need for speculation and officer vis-a-vis defendant "he said, she said" – your driving privileges will be suspended for twelve (12) months. Ultimately, one may have to decide which is more important—avoiding a possible permanent DUI conviction or a twelve (12) months suspension of one's DC driving privileges.
*** There are three (3) Standard Field Sobriety Tests. The other not mentioned above is the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) test. The officer in this test is searching for a particular jerking in the eyes as they move from left to right. This is supposed to signify to him, again, clues of impairment.
Q. What is the essential DUI and Arrests Law in Washington, DC?
Washington, DC DUI & Traffic Lawyer on DC DUI Laws and Arrests
A. In Washington, DC a DUI arrest gives rise to two different matters: a DUI criminal charge, that is prosecuted in the District of Columbia Superior Court, and an administrative driver's license matter at the DC Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), which can potentially result in your driving privileges being suspended by the DC Department of Motor Vehicles.
The DUI laws in Washington, DC makes it illegal to drive when under the influence of alcohol or drugs or with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .03% or higher. A DUI case can be proven in two (2) ways. A Washington D.C. DUI can be demonstrated through a combination of bad driving, physical appearance and behavior of the driver and standard field sobriety test performances. DUI or OWI cases can also be prosecuted on the theory that the driver violated the law of the District of Columbia per se. This type of Washington DWI law declares it a crime to drive with a blood alcohol level (BAC) above .03%.
Further, if you drive in Washington D.C., you have essentially given an implied consent (DC Implied Consent Law) for a test of your blood, urine or breath for purposes of determining alcohol content if suspected of driving under the influence. This is especially true more so if you have been involved in an accident. This means that in a DC DUI arrest, refusal to submit to chemical testing when lawfully requested by a police officer can result in additional civil punishment – (loss of driving privileges for up to one (1) year). In addition, the refusal to submit to a blood or breath alcohol test following an arrest for DUI or a related drunk driving charge can be introduced at trial by the prosecution to 'prove' consciousness of guilt. The judge does not have to necessarily agree with the prosecution since there are other reasons individuals decline chemical testing. However, it is further evidentiary ammunition for the government's case.
Ultimately, with a DUI arrest in DC, or Maryland for that matter, the trier of facts, likely a judge, would based on all the testimony – the police, yours (should you choose to testify) and possibly other witnesses – regarding the incident, make the final determination of guilt or not.
It is important to contact a Washington, DC DUI defense attorney if you are facing drunk-driving charges in the District of Columbia. A DUI matter can have potential devastating consequences and a skilled DUI defense lawyer can make all the difference. If you, or someone you know, needs legal assistance with this or a similar matter, call and speak to one of our experienced DC DUI trial lawyers today: 202.486.1186.
Q. I was arrested for Prostitution in DC, but I think I was entrapped. What can I do?
DC Prostitution Lawyer | DC Sex Offense Attorney | DC Criminal Defense Lawyer
According to DC law, (Inviting for the Purposes of) Prostitution is to unlawfully invite, entice, persuade, or address for the purpose of inviting, enticing or persuading—individual X; likely an undercover officer—for the purposes of prostitution and immoral or lewd purposes. Loosely translated, and what a government prosecution will try to prove at a trial, one allegedly agreed to a sex act in exchange for money. See my previous blog on this issue also. If you believe an undercover officer manipulated you into agreeing to something you had no intention of doing you might have a defensible case.
Most clients tell us that they were on their way home and were simply stopped or idling at a stoplight when they were approached by an individual/undercover female officer and propositioned. They had no interest in or desire to engage this person until they themselves were approached. This is the crux of the issue and the arguments in Court on a daily basis as to whether it was entrapment or the person was predisposed to the invitation and/or engagement. Ultimately, whether or not there was an 'agreement' will determine how the case will turn.
In our experience, with these or similar facts, we typically advise clients to fight the charges at trial. Results vary with a mix of wins, losses, dismissals and positive resolutions before trial.
Typical exchange dialogue in a police arrest report:
UC: Hey Handsome
D1: What's up?
UC: Nothing. What you want?
UC: Okay it's $25 for head and $50 to f---.
D1: I have $50.
UC: $50 to f---?
UC: Okay. Cool. Hold on let me tell Babylove I have a date.
If you are someone you know are facing DC Prostitution, Sexual Solicitation and/or similar criminal charges in Washington, DC call us today: 202.486.1186. Have an experienced DC Prostitution or sex offense attorney in our office advise you regarding potential outcomes, consequences or options available to you.
The penalty for a first conviction of Prostitution or Sexual Solicitation in DC, is a $500 fine and/or up to ninety (90) days in jail.
Q: I Was Arrested for DUI in DC. What am I Supposed to do with the "Official Proposed Notice of Suspension"?
You are to report to DC Department of Motor Vehicles and request a (Show Cause) hearing. This hearing must be requested regardless of whether or not you are a DC resident. The purpose of the hearing is to report to DMV the result (outcome) of the DUI arrest and to determine whether there will be any consequences. Again, this applies to both DC residents and individuals who do not reside in Washington, DC.
The DMV location you are to report to is 3220 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE.* They are opened from 8:15 to 4:00 PM Tuesday - Saturday and are closed on Mondays. This is the only DC DMV location that deals with this particular issue. You will be scheduled for a future hearing date to appear at 301 C Street, NW. You can also make this request in writing.
It is very important that this request be made because failure to do so can result in your driving privileges being suspended in the District of Columbia. This is irrespective of the result of the actual DUI case in DC Superior Court. Time is also of the essence. If you are a DC resident you must request the hearing within ten (10) days of being served and fifteen (15) days if you are a non-resident. Please read the document carefully. Should you have any questions and/or concerns, please give us a call today: 202.486.1186.
*Recently, DMV is now allowing you to schedule the hearing at the 301 C Street, NW location. This location is operational between the hours of 8:30 and 4:00 PM.
The practice in Maryland is fairly similar. The arresting officer in Maryland; however, will take your driver's license and issue you with a temporary permit which is valid for forty-five (45) days. You are then required to request within ten (10) days, if your BAC scores are above .15, a hearing from the Motor Vehicles Administration to address the DUI arrest and maintaining your driving privileges. Generally, you have thirty (30) days within which to make the request.
Q: Must the DMV Staff Appear in Court to Prove an OAS Charge?
I was convicted twice of DC Operating after Suspension, does the prosecutor still need the Department of Motor Vehicle's personnel in court to prove its case?
Yes. The government must be required to bring in a DC Department of Motor Vehicles personnel to show proof of service of any notice, by naming the person on whom the notice or order was served and specifying the time, place, and manner of service for this particular OAS -- see Chapter 18 of DCMR Section 307.7.
The fact that client had been convicted previously of OAS does not excuse the government from complying with the requirement of the Regulation to prove this OAS allegation client is now litigating; note that sometimes folks get suspended, convicted and then get reinstated and then get suspended again.
The cookie sometimes crumbles for the government if DMV personnel fails to specify the time, the place or the manner of service. In Santos v. D.C. Court of Appeals, the court ruled that a driver‟s license cannot be suspended or revoked without due process, including both fair notice of a traffic violation charge and the potential penalties, and the right to a hearing. Say, for example, the claim is that notice was sent to client, did DMV know he was in jail at the time notice was sent to his "last known address?" Was it a "fair notice" to have sent the notice to other than the jail where he was known to have been residing?
See: Rachel E. Loftus v. District of Columbia, 51 A.3d 1285 (D.C. 09/13/2012) and Santos v. District of Columbia, 940 A.2d 113 (D.C. 2007) for more relevant, if not exactly on point, case law.
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Under DC DUI laws a person cannot sit behind the wheels of a motor vehicle with the keys in the ignition – or in his/her pockets for that matter – if that person had been drinking. That is technically "operation" hence the charge can be OWI as distinguished from DUI (Driving under the Influence). In other words, one can be charged with drunk-driving in DC without moving the car one (1) inch.
It is important to contact a Washington, D.C. DUI defense attorney if you are facing drunk-driving or similar charges in the District of Columbia. A DUI matter can have potential devastating consequences and a skilled DUI defense lawyer can make all the difference. If you, or someone you know, needs legal assistance with this or a similar matter, call and speak to one of our experienced DC DUI trial lawyers today: 202.486.1186.