Month: March 2012

If you’re stopped under the suspicion of drunk driving, the police officer may ask you to do certain things to prove that you are capable of safely driving your vehicle.  These are called sobriety tests.

There are three (3) standard sobriety tests in Washington, DC.  The police officer  who stops you under the suspicion of drunk driving may ask you to perform a (i) “one-leg stand” which consists if you standing on one leg and either counting or reciting the alphabet, (ii) “walk turn” by taking nine steps forward, turning around on one foot and taking nine steps back, or (iii) “horizontal gaze nystagmus” (aka “HGN”) test, which gauges your ability to track a moving object (aka “a pen”) with your eyes.   If you are asked to take any of these tests, just say no.

Sobriety tests are not your friend, even if you don’t think you have had that much to drink.

 

If you’ve had even one drink and you are driving, here are three reasons to think twice about taking a sobriety test.

  1. You do not know if you will pass the test.  Not only are sobriety tests not scientifically accurate, instead they are based on the officer’s perception and judgment.  In addition, lot of things can be distracting (like the bright headlights of the police vehicle) and cause you to fail the test.  In addition, not all police officers are good at conducting sobriety tests.   To make things worse, lots of officers have not been properly trained in conducting sobriety tests.  Bad or confusing instructions from a poorly trained police officer can result in you failing a sobriety test.
  2. It is your word against the police officer.  Most sobriety tests are not on video, meaning the results and conditions of the test are your word against the officer’s word.   Guess who gets the benefit of any doubt?  Not you.
  3. You are not required by law to take a sobriety test.  Now, you may get arrested if you do not agree to take a sobriety test; however, you will likely get arrested anyway.  So, just say no.

Have we answered you questions about sobriety tests?   Contact the Law Office of Michael Bruckheim at (240) 753-8222 if you’re facing a DWI or DUI charge in Washington DC or Maryland for a complimentary consultation.

Drunk driving is an illegal activity that can cost your freedom, your life, or the life of someone else. Too many times people find themselves “driving drunk” because they fall prey to false beliefs about drinking that get them in trouble. Let’s set the record clear about several of these false beliefs right now.

  1. Alcohol not only impairs vision, it reduces a person’s depth perception. While driving under the influence, a tree or a curve could seem farther away than it really is, and you might not know it’s close until you hit it.
  2. Coffee will not help you drive safely. The caffeine might keep you awake, but it will not restore your vision, depth perception, or any other sense impaired by the alcohol.
  3. Your weight has nothing to do with alcohol’s affect on your body. A 300-pound person can become intoxicated just as quickly and severely as a 100-pound person.
  4. With every two beers you drink, your chances of being involved in a drunk driving accident increase significantly. By the time you’ve consumed a 6-pack, your likelihood of being in an accident is 44%.
  5. You cannot talk your way out of a DUI or DWI. In many felony DUI convictions, the most detrimental evidence against the driver comes from his/her own mouth at the time of arrest. Here’s a word to the wise, do not attempt to defend or explain yourself to the police after being stopped for drunk driving until you have spoken with an attorney. Your words can have a damaging impact on your case.

Here’s the bottom line … if you are going to drink, do not drive. If you are going to drive, do not drink. If you find yourself in a situation where you have been drinking and driving, call the Law Office of Michael Bruckheim right away.

If you’re like most drivers, you hardly ever think about losing your driver’s license. It seems like a far-fetched punishment that’s only given to the worst criminals and this certainly does not describe you, right?

Well … if this is your perspective, you just might be closer to flagging car rides than you think. Surprisingly, it is not difficult to lose your driver’s license in Washington, DC and it can happen in more ways than one. Keep reading to learn how DC drivers can lose the privilege of legally transporting yourself in a vehicle.

1. Major Moving Violations (DWI, DUI, OWI, and Reckless Driving)

The fastest ways to find yourself walking are to drive while intoxicated (DWI), drive under the influence (DUI), operate a vehicle while impaired (OWI), or just to drive plain reckless. If you are convicted of any of these violations, many states make the suspension of your driver’s license a mandatory condition of your sentence. In DC, a conviction will result in 12 points being assessed against your DC driving privileges, which means an automatic revocation.

In the cases where an automatic revocation is not required, the following factors can increase the likelihood that your driver’s license will be suspended.

  • If you have had a prior conviction or DUI punishment in the last 10 years
  • If your driving record already has a DUI-related driver’s license suspension
  • If at the time of the arrest there was a person in the vehicle under the age of 14
  • If your blood-alcohol level is higher than 0.10% or 0.15%

Here is another thing to know about driving in DC. It is illegal to have an open container of alcohol in your car while driving. An open container of alcohol gives police officers in Washington, DC probable cause to pull you over. If they pull you over and you’re intoxicated, you can face DWI, DUI or OWI charges.

2. Child Support

This is simple. If you don’t pay your child support, you’re going to lose your license (in Washington DC, at least). DC now revokes or suspends driver’s licenses because of past due or non-frequent child support payments. So, a word to the wise …. if you owe child support, pay up!

If your license is suspended due to delinquent child support and you want to get your license reinstated, you must becoming current on your child support payments and bring sufficient proof to the DMV to lift the suspension.

3. Outstanding traffic tickets

Unpaid traffic tickets that are uncontested and unpaid after 30 days can cause your driver’s license to be suspended.

4. Violation of DC Driver Points System
DC will give you bad driving points for certain kinds of moving violations. As we shared above, you can get 12 points if you are convicted of DWI, DUI, OWI or reckless driving. This will result in an automatic revocation. And, don’t think you’re off the hook if you mess up somewhere else. DC will add points to your driving record even if you violate moving violations outside of Washington, DC. Accumulate too many points and you’ll lose the privilege of driving.

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As you can see from the facts we’ve shared above, you don’t have to commit a crime worthy of life imprisonment to get your license taken away. Lots of things can lead to this unfortunate end. If you find yourself in any of these situations and you are in Washington, DC, do not dispair. Call Michael Bruckheim at The Law Office of Michael Bruckheim for a free consultation and to find out how he can help.

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