Criminal Defense Attorneys Washington DC

Not every case is a winner; NO case is a loser!...

The Law Office of K. Lawson Wellington is a Washington, DC defense law firm representing clients in personal injury, family – divorce, custody, and support – and complex criminal and civil litigation matters. We are attorneys engaged in defending, safeguarding and championing the rights and causes of individuals in the Washington, DC and Maryland area.

When you need experienced trial attorneys in court, you can rely on DC Lawyer, K. Lawson Wellington and Company to provide the sound representation, guidance and counsel you need. Clients throughout the Washington, DC area have relied on our experience and knowledge since 1996.

Every case is different. Each client we talk to has been through a different set of facts and circumstances that resulted in them being arrested or facing a criminal charge. As such, when asked what is the best defense strategy for a particular case versus another, our response is, “It’s impossible to say without knowing all the facts.” What we say is: “It’s better to call us right away, rather than right before your hearing is scheduled or imminent.”

INJURED in Washington, DC and Maryland?: A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO YOUR RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES

Five (5) essential steps to follow if you have been involved in an accident; either a car, truck or bus accident or a slip and fall.

  1. Step Number One: SEE YOUR DOCTOR IMMEDIATELY FOR A DIAGNOSIS!
    A comprehensive examination and a treatment plan must be devised. Attend all doctor visits scheduled by a medical or chiropractic physician. Work with your doctor and focus on getting better.
  2. Step Number Two: COMPLETE AN ACCIDENT/INCIDENT REPORT!
    If you have been involved in a car accident, always complete a car accident report. Even if the amount of damage appears to be relatively insignificant, you should nevertheless complete a report so as to protect yourself legally and document the facts of the accident.
  3. Step Number Three: TALK TO NO ONE ABOUT THE ACCIDENT UNTIL YOU KNOW YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS!
    After the accident, do not talk to anyone, even your own insurance company, about what happened in the accident. (Note: You must put your insurance company on notice of the accident- preferably through your lawyer.) Even incidental or side comments by you may jeopardize or reduce the value of your claim. Talk to no one— until you have consulted with a personal injury attorney.
  4. Step Number Four: DO NOT DISCUSS FAULT!
    Although you may feel you did something wrong, the legal rules establishing liability and fault are very complex, and you may not be liable at all. Know your legal rights before you talk to anyone about fault. Consult with a lawyer before talking to anyone about fault.
  5. Step Number Five: GET A FREE LEGAL OFFICE OR TELEPHONE CONSULTATION!
    Even simple accidents such as a rear-end car collision or a simple slip and fall can present or balloon into very complex legal problems.

DUI (Driving Under the Influence)

If you have been charged with a DUI or OWI in Washington, DC, you need a good Washington, DC DUI lawyer to represent you. In Washington, DC a DUI arrest gives rise to two (2) separate matters: a DUI criminal charge, that is prosecuted in DC Superior Court, and an administrative driver’s license matter, at the DC Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) — recently moved and now located at 955 L’Enfant Plaza SW, Washington, DC 20024, which can result in your driving privileges being suspended by DMV for a minimum of six (6) months and up to one (1) year.The DUI laws in Washington, DC makes it illegal to drive when under the influence of alcohol or drugs or with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .05% or higher. A DUI case can be proven in two (2) ways generally. A Washington D.C. DUI can be demonstrated through the failure of standard field sobriety tests (SFSTs) — HGN, Walk and Turn and One-Legged Stand — along with corroborative evidence such as bad driving, attendant speech slurring and/or poor balance etc. DUI or OWI cases can also be prosecuted on the theory that the driver violated the law of the District of Columbia per se. This type of Washington DUI law declares it a crime to drive with a blood alcohol level (BAC) at or above .08.

Further, any person in Washington D.C. who operates or is in physical control of a motor vehicle is deemed to have given his or her consent to chemical tests of his or her blood, breath, or urine for the purposes of determining alcohol and/or drug content — DC Implied Consent Law — if suspected of driving under the influence. This means that in a DUI arrest, refusal to submit to chemical testing when lawfully requested by a police officer can result in additional civil punishment — loss of driving privileges for up to one (1) year. Further, the refusal to submit to a blood or breath test following an arrest for DUI or a related drunk- driving charge can be introduced at trial by the prosecution to ‘prove’ “consciousness of guilt.” Ultimately, a judge would decide and make a ruling as to whether the individual charged refused in an attempt to ‘hide’ potentially damaging evidence (breath, urine or blood test results) or for reasons entirely consistent with innocence.

Non-DC Residents

We understand that anyone can be arrested under the suspicion of drunk driving by operating a car in DC. You might have simply been in town for a one-time business meeting, a convention, an important family event, visiting the nation’s capital and/or friends or merely passing through. If your schedule doesn’t permit or it is difficult, we will request continuances or seek to waive your appearance for initial arraignments or follow-up/status hearings. Call today and we will advise you how best to proceed.

Call today for an initial consultation. There is never a charge or obligation for us to review your situation and determine how we can help.

New DC DUI Law – Read more at Comprehensive Impaired Driving Act of 2012
The new law establishes minimum jail terms of (ten) 10 days instead of five (5) days for repeat DUI offenders and first-time offenders with blood-alcohol concentrations of .20 percent or higher. At .25 percent or higher, the minimum penalty increases from ten (10) to fifteen (15) days, and at .30 percent, the minimum will be twenty (20) days. It also increases maximum penalties for first-time offenders to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000, up from 90 days and a $300 fine.

The law further establishes a blood-alcohol limit of .04 percent for commercial drivers, including taxi drivers.

It is important to contact a Washington, DC DUI defense attorney if you are facing drunk-driving charges in the District of Columbia. A DUI matter can have potential devastating consequences and a skilled DUI defense lawyer can make all the difference. If you, or someone you know, need legal assistance with this or a similar matter, call us today and ask to speak to one of our experienced DC DUI trial lawyers: 202.486.1186.
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Washington, DC DUI Penalties

Driving Under the Influence (DUI)

Driving under the influence (DUI) is the most serious impaired driving offense an individual can be charged with in the District of Columbia. It is important to have a knowledgeable defense attorney when charged with a DUI in DC. The DUI offense consists of two elements. First, the government must prove that the defendant was “operating” or in “physical control” of the vehicle. Second, the government needs to prove that the defendant’s ability to operate or control the vehicle was impaired as a result of either drug and/or alcohol intoxication. D.C. Code 50-2201.05(b).
The penalty for a first conviction of a DUI charge is a $1,000 fine and 0 to 180 days in jail – this can be suspended. However, it is important to know that if the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of the defendant at the time a BAC test is administered is 0.20 grams or greater per 100 milliliters of blood, a 10 day mandatory minimum sentence of imprisonment shall be imposed. If a BAC test results above 0.25 grams per 100 milliliters of blood there is a mandatory 15 day jail term . If a BAC test results above 0.30 then there is a mandatory 20 day jail-term.

DUI Penalties With a Prior DUI Conviction

The penalty for a second DUI conviction within a 15-year period is a $2,500 – $5,000 fine and a sentence of up to one (1) year. Such a conviction also carries with it a mandatory minimum ten (10) days jail sentence which must be imposed and cannot be suspended. It also must be served straight with no weekends option. If the defendant’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.25 grams or greater per 100 milliliters of blood during the second arrest, a minimum 15 days days of mandatory imprisonment is imposed. If a BAC test results above 0.25 grams per 100 milliliters of blood there is a mandatory 20 day jail term. and a 25-day jail-term for a test result above 0.30.
The penalty for a third or subsequent conviction within a 15-year period carries a fine of $2,500-$10,000 and a mandatory 15-day period of incarceration. If the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) during a third or subsequent conviction is at least 0.20 grams per 100 milliliters of blood, then the defendant is subject to a 20 day mandatory-minimum term of incarceration. If a BAC test results above 0.25 grams per 100 milliliters of blood a mandatory 25 day jail term is imposed. For a BAC test result above 0.30.a 30-day jail-term will be imposed.

Operating While Impaired (OWI)

OWI is the simplest, and just about the, easiest of the impaired driving or so-called “drinking and driving” offenses for the government to prove against a defendant, who is so charged. When prosecuting this particular offense, the government need only prove that the defendant’s ability to operate a vehicle was “noticeably impaired” by the consumption of “intoxicating liquor.” However, the operating while impaired (OWI) offense imposes the lightest penalties out of the three impaired driving charges. A first conviction carries a $500 fine and a maximum sentence of 90 days. D.C. Code 50-2201.05(b).

A second conviction within a 15-year time period carries a $1,000 – $2,500 fine and incarceration of up to a year, 5 days of which cannot be suspended. A third or subsequent offense within a 15 year period carries a $1000-$5000 fine and a 10-day to one year sentence, with a mandatory minimum of 10 days. D.C. Code 50-2201.05(b).

Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)

The government needs to prove two things to obtain a conviction for DWI (driving while intoxicated) in D.C. First, it needs to prove that the defendant was “operating” or in “physical control” of the vehicle. This does not require that the defendant be actually driving the car. Sitting at the wheel with the keys in the ignition is sufficient for the court to infer operation or physical control. Second, the government must prove that, at the time of testing, the blood alcohol concentration of the person operating the car was 0.08 grams per 100 milliliters of blood or greater. Unlike the related offense of driving under the influence, the prosecution does not need to prove impaired driving through intoxication. D.C. Code 50-2201.05(b).

The penalty for a first conviction of DWI is a $1,000 fine and up to 180 days in jail – all of this can be suspended.
It is important to note, however, that if the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of the defendant at the time of testing is 0.20 grams or higher per 100 milliliters of blood, there is a 10 day mandatory minimum sentence of imprisonment. If a BAC test results above 0.25 grams per 100 milliliters of blood there is a mandatory 15-day jail term. If a BAC test results above 0.30 then a there is a mandatory 20 day jail-term.

The penalty for a second conviction within a 15-year period is a $2,500 – $5,000 fine and a sentence of up to one (1) year, with at least 10 days which must be imposed and cannot be suspended. If a defendant’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.20 grams or greater per 100 milliliters of blood during a second arrest, a minimum 15 days days of mandatory imprisonment is imposed. If the defendant’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test results above 0.25 grams per 100 milliliters of blood during a second arrest there is a mandatory 20 day jail term. If the defendant’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is above 0.30 there is a mandatory 25-day jail-term. The penalty for a third or subsequent conviction within a 15-year period is a fine of $2,500-$10,000 and a mandatory 15-day period of incarceration. If the blood alcohol concentration at third or subsequent is at least 0.20 grams per 100 milliliters of blood, the defendant must serve a 20 day mandatory-minimum term of incarceration, a mandatory 25 day jail term for a test result above 0.25 grams per 100 milliliters of blood and a mandatory 30-day jail-term for a test result above 0.30.

DC DUI & DWI Statute Definitions:

§ 50–2206.11. Driving under the influence of alcohol or a drug.

No person shall operate or be in physical control of any vehicle in the District:
(1) While the person is intoxicated; or
(2) While the person is under the influence of alcohol or any drug or any combination thereof.

§ 50–2206.13. Penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol or a drug.

(a) Except as provided in subsections (b) and (c) of this section, a person violating any provision of § 50?2206.11 or § 50?2206.12 shall upon conviction for the first offense be fined $1,000, or incarcerated for not more than 180 days, or both; provided, that:
(1) A 10-day mandatory-minimum term of incarceration shall be imposed if the person’s alcohol concentration was at least 0.20 grams per 100 milliliters of blood or per 210 liters of breath, or was at least 0.25 grams per 100 milliliters of urine; or
(2) A 15-day mandatory-minimum term of incarceration shall be imposed if the person’s alcohol concentration was more than 0.25 grams per 100 milliliters of blood or per 210 liters of breath or 0.32 grams per 100 milliliters of urine; or
(3) A 20-day mandatory-minimum term of incarceration shall be imposed if the person’s alcohol concentration was more than 0.30 grams per 100 milliliters of blood or per 210 liters of breath or 0.39 grams per 100 milliliters of urine; and
(4) A 15-day mandatory-minimum term of incarceration shall be imposed if the person’s blood or urine contains a Schedule I chemical or controlled substance as listed in § 48?902.04, Phencyclidine, Cocaine, Methadone, Morphine, or one of its active metabolites or analogs.
(b) A person violating any provision of § 50?2206.11 or § 50?2206.12 when the person has a prior offense under § 50?2206.11, § 50?2206.12, or § 50?2206.14 and is being sentenced on the current offense shall be fined not less than $2,500 and not more than $5,000, or incarcerated for not more than one year, or both; provided, that a 10-day mandatory-minimum term of incarceration shall be imposed, and in addition :
(1) A 15-day mandatory-minimum term of incarceration shall be imposed if the person’s alcohol concentration was at least 0.20 grams per 100 milliliters of blood or per 210 liters of breath, or was at least 0.25 grams per 100 milliliters of urine; or
(2) A 20-day mandatory-minimum term of incarceration shall be imposed if the person’s alcohol concentration was more than 0.25 grams per 100 milliliters of blood or per 210 liters of breath or more than 0.32 grams per 100 milliliters of urine; or
(3) A 25-day mandatory-minimum term of incarceration shall be imposed if the person’s alcohol concentration was more than 0.30 grams per 100 milliliters of blood or per 210 liters of breath or 0.39 grams per 100 milliliters of urine; and
(4) A 20-day mandatory-minimum term of incarceration shall be imposed if the person’s blood or urine contains a Schedule I chemical or controlled substance as listed in § 48?902.04, Phencyclidine, Cocaine, Methadone, Morphine, or one of its active metabolites or analogs.
(c) A person violating any provision of § 50?2206.11 or § 50?2206.12 when the person has 2 or more prior offenses under § 50?2206.11, § 50?2206.12, or § 50?2206.14 and is being sentenced on the current offense shall be fined not less than $2,500 and not more than $10,000, or incarcerated for not more than one year, or both; provided, that a 15-day mandatory-minimum term of incarceration shall be imposed, and in addition:
(1) A 20-day mandatory-minimum term of incarceration shall be imposed if the person’s alcohol concentration was at least 0.20 grams per 100 milliliters of blood or per 210 liters of breath, or was at least 0.25 grams per 100 milliliters of urine; or
(2) A 25-day mandatory-minimum term of incarceration shall be imposed if the person’s alcohol concentration was more than 0.25 grams per 100 milliliters of blood or per 210 liters of breath or 0.32 grams per 100 milliliters of urine; or
(3) A 30-day mandatory-minimum term of incarceration shall be imposed if the person’s alcohol concentration was more than 0.30 grams per 100 milliliters of blood or per 210 liters of breath or 0.39 grams per 100 milliliters of urine; and
(4) A 25-day mandatory-minimum term of incarceration shall be imposed if the person’s blood or urine contains a Schedule I chemical or controlled substance as defined in § 48?902.04, Phencyclidine, Cocaine, Methadone, Morphine, or one of its active metabolites or analogs.
(d) An additional 30-day mandatory-minimum term of incarceration shall be imposed for each additional violation of any one or more provisions of § 50?2206.11 or § 50?2206.12 if the person has 3 prior offenses under § 50?2206.11, § 50?2206.12, or § 50?2206.14 and is being sentenced on the current offense.
(e) The fines set forth in this section shall not be limited by § 22?3571.01.

§ 50–2206.14. Operating a vehicle while impaired.

No person shall operate or be in physical control of any vehicle in the District while the person’s ability to operate or be in physical control of a vehicle is impaired by the consumption of alcohol or any drug or any combination thereof.

§ 50–2206.17. Additional penalty for driving under the influence of alcohol or a drug; commercial vehicle.

A person violating any provision of § 50?2206.12 shall, in addition to any applicable penalty under section § 50?2206.13, be subject to an additional 5 day mandatory-minimum term of incarceration.

§ 50–2206.18. Additional penalty for impaired driving with a minor in vehicle.

(a) A person convicted of any offense under this part who, at the time of operation or physical control of the vehicle had a minor, other than him or herself, in the vehicle, shall, in addition to any applicable penalty under this part:
(1) Be fined a minimum of $500 and not more than $1,000 per minor; and
(2) Be incarcerated for a mandatory-minimum term of incarceration of:
(A) 5 days per minor if the minor or minors are restrained in, or by, an age-appropriate child passenger-safety restraint; or
(B) 10 days per minor if the minor or minors are not restrained in, or by, an age-appropriate child passenger-safety restraint.
(b) The fines set forth in this section shall not be limited by § 22?3571.01.

Potential Penalties For a First DUI Conviction in the District of Columbia

Automatic suspension of DC driving privileges. Length of suspension will be determined by a hearing at the District of Columbia Department of Motor Vehicles
May be required to install an ignition interlock device if granted a restricted license
May be required to submit to regular drug and/or alcohol testing
May be required to enter a drug and/or alcohol program
Likely will be required to attend and/or complete:
– Traffic Alcohol Program
– Traffic Safety Program
– Victim’s Impact Panel
With a BAC above .20, an individual must serve a mandatory 10 days in jail.
With a BAC above .25, must serve mandatory 15 days in jail.
With a BAC above .30, must serve mandatory 20 days in jail.
Twelve (12) points on driver’s license and automatic suspension.

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