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  • Writer's pictureedwin1795

Can I Go To Jail For A DUI in DC?

You can go to jail for a DUI in DC, even if it’s your first offense. However, jail time may be more or less likely depending on the specifics of your case.


In addition to jail time, there may be other collateral consequences of a DUI conviction including mandatory license suspension and fines. A DC criminal lawyer can explain whether you are likely to go to jail if you are convicted, and will work hard to minimize the impact of a DUI conviction.

Penalties For Driving Under The Influence

The Code of the District of Columbia lists the penalties for driving under the influence. The penalties vary depending on certain factors including the number of prior DUI convictions, the amount of alcohol in your system, and other aggravating circumstances.


First Offense

If you are convicted of a DUI first offense, you can receive up to 180 days in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. There is no mandatory jail time unless your BAC is elevated or your case triggers an additional sentencing enhancement listed in the following section.


If your BAC is elevated then you can expect the following mandatory minimum sentences:


● BAC between .20 and .24 = 10 days in jail

● BAC between .25 and .29 = 15 days in jail

● BAC .30 and above = 20 days in jail


Unfortunately, a judge must impose a mandatory minimum and has no discretion to suspend the sentence. The best way to avoid a mandatory minimum for a high BAC is to challenge the breathalyzer or blood test.


In addition to jail time, your license is also automatically revoked for 6 months after a DUI first-offense conviction in DC.


Second Offense

If you are convicted of a DUI second offense, you can receive up to 1 year in jail and/or a $2,500-$5,000 fine. You will also face a 10-day mandatory minimum. If your BAC is elevated there are additional mandatory minimum sentences:


● BAC between .20 and .24 = 25 days in jail

● BAC between .25 and .29 = 30 days in jail

● BAC .30 and above = 35 days in jail


In addition to jail time, your license is automatically revoked for 1-year.


Third Offense

If you are convicted of a DUI third offense in DC, you can receive up to 1 year in jail and/or a $2,500 - $10,000 fine. You will also receive a 12-day mandatory minimum sentence.


Like other DUIs, if your BAC is elevated there are additional mandatory minimum sentences:


● BAC between .20 and .24 = 35 days in jail

● BAC between .25 and .29 = 40 days in jail

● BAC .30 and above = 45 days in jail


Additionally, your license is automatically revoked for 2-years.


Fourth and Subsequent Offense

If you are convicted of a fourth or subsequent DUI, then you will receive up to 1-year in jail and/or a $2,500 - $10,000 fine. You will also receive a 45-day mandatory minimum for a fourth offense and an additional 30-day mandatory minimum for each subsequent offense.


If your BAC is elevated there are additional mandatory minimum sentences:


● BAC between .20 and .24 = 65 days in jail (plus 30 additional days per subsequent offense)

● BAC between .25 and .29 = 70 days in jail (plus 30 additional days per subsequent offense)

● BAC .30 and above = 75 days in jail (plus 30 additional days per subsequent offense)


Furthermore, your license is revoked for at least 5 years for a fourth or subsequent offense. You can petition the DMV for reinstatement after 5 years for good cause shown.


Sentencing Enhancements For DUI

In addition to the penalties above, you may also face sentencing enhancements for aggravating factors in your case.

Minor in Vehicle

If you get a DUI with a minor in the car, you will receive 5 additional mandatory days in jail and a $500 fine for each child that is properly restrained in a car seat or with a seatbelt. If the kids are not properly restrained, you will get 10 mandatory days in jail and a $1,000 fine per child.

Drug Enhancement

If you are convicted of a drug DUI, you may face more severe punishment depending on the type of drug. If the drug is a Schedule 1 substance or PCP, Cocaine, Methadone, or Morphine, then you will get 15 additional mandatory minimum days for 1st offense that increase based on your number of priors.

Commercial Vehicle

If you are driving a commercial vehicle, like a taxi, then you will receive 5 mandatory minimum days in jail on top of the other penalties. You should keep in mind that the BAC limit is .04 for commercial drivers, whereas it is .08 for non-commercial drivers.


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