dui & owi defense
WASHINGTON, D.C. DUI & OWI LAWYER
A DUI or DWI charge can happen to the best of us. Almost everyday it seems that you read about celebrities, athletes, politicians, and other notable people being charged with DUI or DWI. It's important to keep things in perspective if you are charged with this offense.
On the one hand, you haven't done anything horribly wrong. On the other, you are facing a very serious penalty for your mistake. Consulting with an experienced DUI/DWI lawyer is an essential first step in dealing with this problem. Your lawyer will help you understand the legal implications and ramifications while also upholding your rights and fighting to have the case dismissed.
I THINK THE POLICE OFFICER WAS WEARING A BODY WORN CAMERA (BWC). WILL THAT HELP OR HURT MY CASE?
More and more police departments across the United States are requiring their officers to wear body cameras. The Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, D.C. routinely records incidents, including the time leading up to and after an arrest has been made. If you were arrested and think the police officers recorded the incident it could be beneficial to your case for a number of reasons.
Initially, an experienced attorney should request that the government turn over all of the Brady material, which is anything relating to material and/or exculpatory evidence in your case. If BWC exists it must be turned over to your lawyer who should thoroughly review the footage to evaluate which, if any, of your constitutional rights were violated.
For instance, suppose you were stopped and the officer asked you to step out of the vehicle because he suspected you were intoxicated. Next, the police officer handcuffed you and placed you in the back of his vehicle and then immediately asked you questions about whether or not you had been drinking. You, feeling guilty and scared, answered the officer’s questions and admitted to drinking four shots of tequila at a party an hour earlier. Finally, assume that all of this was recorded on the BWC.
Based on the above hypothetical, a number of your constitutional rights were violated and your lawyer could use the video evidence at a motion to suppress hearing to possibly have your case dismissed.
That all being said, BWC footage can also be harmful to your case. Suppose the footage shows you acting belligerent behind the wheel of your car, with a beer between your legs and a lit joint in the center console. The video footage will not likely help your case. In this scenario, there may be a motion to challenge the admissibility of the video evidence.
Either way, it’s important to seek the help of an experienced DUI Defense Attorney to review all of the facts of your case. Many people wait too long before hiring an attorney because they don’t understand how to challenge video evidence or uphold their own constitutional rights.
I ONLY HAD TWO DRINKS. IS THAT ILLEGAL?
What did you drink and when was your last drink consumed? How much do you weigh? Determining blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is more complicated than one might imagine.
In Washington, D.C. the legal limit is .08 BAC. That means if the police test your breath, blood, or urine and your BAC registers at or above .08, the government has a prima facie case for DUI if they can prove you were operating or in physical control of the vehicle.
But that doesn’t mean the case is over. To establish a prima facie case for DUI, one of the elements that the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt is impairment. They do this by introducing blood, breath, or urine samples that were collected after the incident.
An experienced DUI Defense Lawyer can and should attempt to challenge the admissibility of this evidence. Machines and testing equipment are not perfect. Many times a good lawyer can argue that the machines or testing equipment was improperly maintained and/or the operator’s license had expired, among other factors to consider in evaluating the strength of the evidence.
So to answer your question, it is possible that two drinks did put you over the legal limit and therefore your driving was illegal. That said, it’s a bad idea to get hung up on the answer to that question. The government must prove impairment beyond and to the exclusion of every reasonable doubt. An experienced DUI Defense Lawyer will help you to expose those reasonable doubts.
WILL I GO TO JAIL?
Essentially, the answer to this question depends on your criminal history (including previous DUI convictions) and the amount of alcohol in your system at the time of testing.
If you are convicted and this is your first DUI, a first-time offender with a blood or breath score of .20 grams or over or a urine score of .25 grams or over will face a mandatory jail sentence of 10 days in jail.
If this is your first DUI and your BAC was between .26 to .30, the mandatory jail sentence jumps to 15 days.
As you can see, the severity of the penalty (jail sentence) depends on the facts of your case. To fully understand the penalty you are facing it’s best to call an experienced DUI Defense Lawyer for a free consultation. In this consultation, the lawyer will likely be able to pull up your case and give you an overview of what you’re facing.
HOW MUCH IS THIS GOING TO COST ME?
The maximum penalty for first-time offenders who are convicted of DUI is 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.
MY FRIEND REPRESENTED HIMSELF. WHY SHOULD I HIRE A LAWYER?
When I am hired to represent a client in a criminal matter, my client’s problems become my problems. Not only is my license on the line, but so is my reputation. I take my client’s problems very seriously, as if they were my own, and I attempt to remove the burden from my client’s shoulders so that he or she can resume their life as normal.
Hiring any attorney may not be worth it. An attorney who has not been trained in criminal defense representation and who isn’t skilled in trial advocacy likely won’t make much of a difference in your case. If you are going to hire any attorney to represent you through this difficult time, you may consider saving your money for the fines that you could be paying as part of a plea deal that you will likely accept.
Hiring a skilled Criminal Lawyer who has been trained specifically in DUI Defense will be worth the cost.
This type of attorney will carefully review all the aspects of your case, starting with requesting and reviewing the evidence that is turned over from the government.
This type of attorney will investigate the case by going to the scene of the incident.
This type of attorney will brainstorm, research, draft, and argue novel legal arguments that are carefully designed to whittle away at the government’s body of evidence pending against you.
This type of attorney will communicate with you throughout your case, keeping you fully informed of the work that’s being done to ensure that your rights are protected.
This type of attorney will carefully counsel you on the cost/benefit analysis of accepting a plea versus taking your case to trial.
This type of attorney has been trained in trial work, understands the rules of evidence, and has mastered the art of communicating and arguing in front of a jury.
You shouldn’t hire just any lawyer to represent you in a criminal case. You should, however, hire an attorney who has been trained and has experience in providing skilled representation to people charged with crimes.