Drunk Driver’s in D.C. Get Tougher Punishment


District drivers who drive under the influence will now receive tougher consequences under the new anti-drunk driving law that the District implemented in early August.

Motorists caught driving under the influence will now be required to spend 15-20 days in jail, depending on if it’s the person is a first-time offenders and the new law will lengthen mandatory minimum sentences for repeat offenders and drivers who test high concentrations of alcohol in their blood.

The Comprehensive Impaired Driving Act of 2012 was passed by the D.C. Council and signed into law by Mayor Vincent C. Gray in July and went into effect in early August.

Those registering a 0.25 percent blood-alcohol concentration will be required to spend 15 days in jail rather than 10, and those with a 0.3 percent concentration must spend 20 days in jail.

Maximum incarceration periods and fines will increase, with first-time offenders facing jail sentences of up to 180 days and fines of up to $1,000.

Another key distinction in this new law is the D.C. Police Department’s breath analyzer program, which ran into accuracy problems in 2010. Police stopped using the tests last year and have been relying on field sobriety tests and urinalysis in making arrests, after it found that over 400 convictions were based on inaccurate results.

Drivers of commercial vehicles, including taxicabs, limousines, shuttle buses, and 18-wheelers will have to abide by a blood-alcohol limit of 0.04 percent. Drivers of those vehicles would face minimum jail sentences of five days if convicted of driving with a higher blood-alcohol concentration.



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