December 18, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- Drinking and driving carries steep consequences across the U.S., and Washington, D.C. does not break the pattern. In fact, changes to DUI penalties
implemented last year have made the potential punishments that drivers face much more severe. It is important for drivers in the nation's capital to be aware of these legal changes so that they can make their driving decisions accordingly.
D.C. DUI trends
Like many parts of the country, Washington, D.C. has seen improvements in drunk driving accident statistics over an extended time period. In the last decade, according to the Century Council, the rate of alcohol-related driving fatalities has decreased by 69 percent. The rate of alcohol-related fatalities involving drivers under the legal drinking age has fallen by 48 percent.
These long-range statistics are encouraging, but drinking and driving is still a problem in the nation's capital. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, eight crashes involving alcohol caused fatalities in 2011. This may seem like a fairly small figure, but those deaths represented 41 percent of all D.C. traffic deaths that year. The number of fatal crashes also constituted a 14 percent increase over the number that occurred the previous year.
Considering these figures, it is not surprising that DUI laws
would become stricter and that drivers convicted of DUI would face stronger punishments. It remains to be seen how effective these changes will be, but there is no denying that the law will affect many drivers in D.C.
Terms of the new law
The new law was approved and went into effect last year, according to CBS Baltimore. The law increases punishments for both first-time and repeat offenders:
- First-time offenders now face higher maximum penalties, with jail time doubling to 180 days and fines tripling to $3,000.
- Repeat offenders now face twice the mandatory minimum jail time that they used to, with 10 days being the minimum.
- People with BAC levels above .25 and .30 face a longer minimum jail time of 15 days and 20 days, respectively.
- Drivers of commercial vehicles now have a legal BAC limit of .04 percent.
People who have faced DUI charges in various parts of the country often consider DUI laws harsh, and now, the law in D.C. is even stricter. Even before the changes, it was important for drivers who were arrested for DUI to seek legal help. With minimum penalties raised for repeat offenders and maximum penalties raised for first-time offenders, it is more beneficial than ever for drivers to seek professional assistance when dealing with a DUI charge.
Anyone who has been arrested for driving intoxicated in Washington, D.C. should speak with an attorney at the earliest possible opportunity. An experienced DUI attorney may be able to fight the charges or at least reduce the penalties that a driver faces.
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