About DUI DMV Penalties in DC

Below an excerpt from an interview with DC DUI lawyer Shawn Sukumar.

What Are The Long-Term Implications Of A DUI Or DWI On Someone’s Driver’s License?

The most common consequences, aside from possible jail time, probation, fines, community service, alcohol programs, and various other programs, are the associated DMV penalties that could arise from a conviction. In DC, the consequences from the DMV on someone’s driver’s license are separate from the court case. The DC criminal courts have no control over a person’s driver’s license, but if someone is convicted of a DUI, the DMV could suspend their license, depending on how many previous DUIs they have. If they are a first offender, they could face a possible six-month license suspension as a result of the criminal case. If they got arrested for DUI and refused to provide a breath or blood sample, the DMV could automatically revoke their license for one year instead of six months. That would apply whether or not they are found guilty. The refusal alone can potentially lead to a one-year license revocation. That license revocation can then have an impact on whether or not they can keep their insurance or what their insurance premiums will be.

Are The DC DMV Penalties Only Contingent Upon A Conviction?

The DC DMV doesn’t wait for a conviction to make a decision. They have their own process and their own hearings that they go by in order to decide whether or not to suspend your license. When you get released from the police station after being arrested, you may get a notice of proposed revocation along with your citation to appear in court. Those are two different documents, meaning you have two separate situations going on, one with the court and one with the DMV. When you get that official notice of proposed revocation, you have a period of time within which you have to request a hearing. Otherwise, the DMV will automatically revoke your license even if you haven’t been convicted in court yet. If you have a Washington, DC license, then you have 10 days to go to the DC DMV and request a hearing regarding your driver’s license. If you have an out-of-state license, then you have 15 days to request that hearing. If you don’t, your license will automatically get revoked. It doesn’t matter if your court case is finished yet or not. If you request the DMV hearing and the police officers appear to testify, for example to testify as to whether you provided a breath sample, the DMV can then do a mandatory license revocation even if your court case isn’t done yet.

Do Most Other States Have Reciprocity With DC With This Suspension?

That depends from state to state. For example, if you’re convicted of an OWI, but your driver’s license is from Virginia or Maryland, neither of those states has OWI laws, so chances of that DC license revocation transferring out to Maryland or Virginia is very low. In certain circumstances, it’s likely that the DC license suspension would not transfer out to your home state, but in some situations it would.

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