All charges dismissed through negotiations with Assistant United States Attorney.
Defense for Second Offense DC DUI Charge
The defense for second offense DUIs is similar to a defense for a first offense DUI. In the end, the elements of the offense are the same. The prosecutor must prove that the person was in operational control of their vehicle and that they were impaired to any appreciable degree by alcohol, drugs, medication or some combination of those.
The prosecutor must also prove that the person charged has a prior conviction for driving under the influence and that it occurred in the previous 15 years. This is an additional element that must be proven and a skilled DUI defense attorney can challenge. Different states have different rules on who is considered convicted. DC laws do not necessarily take into account the differences between different states.
Evidence and Challenges
A situation considered to be a prior conviction under DC rules may not be considered prior conviction under the rules of the state where the prior case took place. These are vague elements that can be challenged when a prosecutor cannot provide the documentation to prove that the prior DUI was a prior conviction under DC laws. It is up to the prosecutor to provide that evidence and is one source of a possible challenge to contest whether a person can be treated as a second offender under DC rules.
Other defenses are similar to first offense DUIs, such as challenging the field sobriety tests, challenging the initial stop or detention by the police, and looking closely at the manner in which the police officers produced evidence against the person. These elements can be used to challenge any evidence of intoxication the police and prosecutors try to put forward.
Defense and Conviction
The DC DMV does not need to wait for a conviction at the DC Superior Court to take action against the person’s license. When a person is arrested and charged, they must schedule a hearing with the DC DMV to contest evidence of their impairment.
This DUI hearing is completely separate from the hearing at the DC Superior Court where a judge or a jury must hear proof beyond a reasonable doubt that a second offender was driving under the influence. The DC DMV has a lower standard at their second offense hearings. They only need to hear proof that is clear and convincing evidence. This is a lower burden of proof and many of the rules that apply for proving a person guilty in the Superior Court do not apply in the DC DMV.
The DMV does not need to wait for a conviction to impose the mandatory penalty laid out by the DC Municipal Regulations. When someone is charged, then convicted of a second offense DUI in the court, the DC DMV considers that sufficient evidence because the court’s burden of proof is higher than the DMV. When the DMV becomes aware of the conviction in DC Superior Court they move forward with the penalties allowed under the DC Municipal Regulations.
The DC DMV treats charges of second offense DUIs extremely harshly. When the DC DMV finds that a person committed a second DUI, even if the first DUI is not in DC, the DMV can impose a mandatory two-year license revocation period. DC DMV rules prohibit any DUI offender from applying for a restricted or limited occupational license. The license penalties are set in stone. When someone has a DC license, that license can be revoked for a full two years as a result of a second offense DUI. If a person does not have a DC license, their driving privileges in the District can be revoked for that same
A knowledgeable DUI lawyer will be able to clarify the potential consequences. For instance, any license penalties the DMV assigns for a second offender are in stone. When someone has a DC license, that license can be revoked for a full two years as a result of a second offense DUI. If a person does not have a DC license, their driving privileges in the District can be revoked for that same two-year period. The DC DMV must make a finding that a person has a prior DUI and must see evidence that the person was under the influence of alcohol, or drugs, or medication at the time they were driving.
If the DC DMV at a DMV hearing has sufficient evidence as defined by clear and convincing evidence that the person was under the influence of alcohol at the time they were driving, the DC DMV does not need to wait for the outcome of the criminal case to move forward on the license revocation.
When someone is at the DMV hearing and the DMV hears evidence and revokes the person’s license, they do not need to have the revocation lifted, even if a person is acquitted of the DUI in superior court. The standard to prove a person guilty in superior court is higher than the standard the DMV needs to meet to revoke a person’s driving privileges. Even if a person is acquitted, that does not necessarily result in the DMV reversing an earlier imposed license revocation based on DC DMV procedures.