One thing important to realize when driving in D.C. is that the District of Columbia is a “zero tolerance” zone* when it comes to driving under the influence of drugs. “Drugs” can be over-the-counter medication, prescribed medication, or illicit substances. DUI or DWI offenses can result in harsh punishment if you don’t prepare yourself with proper legal counsel and take the charges seriously.
Drug-related DUI penalties in D.C. include the following:
First Offenses: If your blood or urine contains a Schedule I chemical or certain controlled substances, phencyclidine, cocaine, methadone, morphine, or one of its active metabolites or analogs, you are subject to a mandatory minimum of 15 days of incarceration and/or a $1,000 fine.
Second Offenses: For a second offense where your blood or urine contains one of the substances listed above, you are subject to a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 20 days and a fine ranging from $2,500 – $5,000.
Third and Subsequent Offenses: For a third offense, you are subject to a 25-day mandatory minimum jail sentence if your blood or urine contains one of the substances listed above and a fine of $2,500 – $10,000. Each subsequent offense subject you to an additional 30-day mandatory minimum jail sentence .
Merely being arrested for this offense may result in your driver’s license being revoked for six months or longer if you refuse to be tested for drugs or alcohol at the time of your stop, regardless of the outcome of your case. It is very important to promptly request a hearing with the DMV to protect your right to drive in the District pending the resolution of your case.
In addition, a conviction for DUI may cause the DMV to revoke your privilege to drive in the District. You must request a hearing promptly upon notice from the DMV of the proposed revocation or suspension.
A conviction for DUI can have lasting personal and professional effects. If you find yourself facing charges for driving under the influence of drugs in D.C., seek legal counsel right away, as you’re likely to receive maximum penalties otherwise.