A Top-Rated Criminal Justice Attorney in Washington, DC

Updated on April 15th, 2024 at 03:04 pm

If you need an experienced DC DUI attorney, Bruckheim & Patel is ready to advocate for you. Criminal defense attorneys at Bruckheim & Patel promise trust, commitment, and integrity when representing clients facing a Washington D.C. DUI. Our skilled litigators bring a unique perspective to each case. Experience, attention to detail, and aggressiveness can mean the difference between success and failure.

Washington DC DUI Lawyers

Bruckheim & Patel understands that your legal problem may be the most pressing matter in your life. Potential penalties for an alcohol-related driving offense are often expensive, disruptive, and life-changing.  You may face consequences such as mandatory jail time, loss of driving privileges, and a hefty fine for a DUI conviction.

We are here to help you through these difficult times. As a boutique litigation practice, the firm provides personal attention and care. As an aggressive defense law firm, Bruckheim & Patel will provide you with the highest-quality legal representation.

DUI and OWI Laws in DC

The consequences of a DUI conviction vary by state law and how many offenses you’ve had in the past. You could have your license suspended or revoked. You could be fined heavily and go to jail for a while. Repeat offenders can expect to do some serious time behind bars and pay even larger fines, though judges have discretion here.

  • Presumption of DUI or OWI in DC – A blood or breath alcohol level of 0.05 or greater or a urine alcohol level greater than .06 creates a presumption of DUI or OWI in Washington, D.C.
  • Implied Consent – A person operating a motor vehicle in D.C. implies consent to permit a breath, blood, or urine sample to the police if they have a reasonable suspicion to believe an OWI or DUI offense has occurred.
  • Refusal – Refusal to submit results in a 12-month license suspension.  If an accident occurs, the suspect cannot refuse to submit to blood, breath, or urine testing.  Police can forcibly take blood, urine, or breath samples
  • Blood Draw – Only a doctor or nurse can draw blood from a suspect. You have the right to obtain an additional blood sample for private testing
  • Administrative Hearing – A defendant who is a resident of the District of Columbia must request a hearing before the DMV within ten days of a DUI, DWI, or OWI arrest. Non-residents of the District of Columbia have 15 days to request a hearing
  • Zero Tolerance Law for Underage – If you are under 21 years of age, Washington, DC, has a zero-tolerance policy, and anything over 0.00% is considered over the limit. Be prepared for additional penalties like reckless driving.
  • Legal Blood Alcohol Limits in Washington D.C. – If someone is over the age of 21, the legal limit to get behind the wheel of a vehicle is 0.08% BAC. If someone is driving a commercial vehicle, the legal limit is 0.04% BAC. (*These numbers vary slightly throughout the United States, but only very little.)

What Are the Different Types of Drunk Driving Charges in Washington, DC?

  • Driving Under the Influence (DUI) – A person commits the offense of Driving Under the Influence in DC (DUI) if he or she operates a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.
  • Operating While Impaired (OWI) – An offense of Operating While Impaired (OWI) if a person operates a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol.
  • Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)—DWI is NOT a charge recognized in the District of Columbia.
    In the past, DWI was a charge in the District of Columbia if the blood alcohol content chemical score was above .08. However, now each charge is charged as a DUI or OWI in the District of Columbia.

Penalties for Drinking and Driving

  • First-time offenders of an impaired Driving Offense have the lightest penalties and are subject to a $1000 fine, jail time not to exceed 180 days, or both.
  • Second offense DUI: imprisonment for not more than two years and a $2,500 fine.
  • Third offense DUI: mandatory minimum sentence of jail time of not less than ten days nor more than 30 days of jail time or $250 to $5,000 fine, or both.

What are the Penalties for a First Time DUI Charge in DC?

First Criminal Offense:

  • A fine of up to $1000.00 and up to 180 days in jail.
  • Mandatory 10-day jail sentence if breath/ blood alcohol concentration level is between 0.20 and 0.25 or if urine alcohol level is 0.25 or more.
  • Mandatory 15-day jail sentence if breath/blood alcohol concentration level is between .26-.30 or if urine alcohol is more than .32.
  • Mandatory 20-day jail sentence if blood/breath alcohol concentration level is greater than 0.30 or if urine alcohol level is more than .39.
  • (If a person’s blood or urine contains a Schedule I chemical or controlled substance as listed in D.C. Code Section 48-902.04 (such as PCP, cocaine, heroin, methadone, morphine), a mandatory 15-day jail sentence shall be imposed.)

What are the Penalties for a 2nd DC DUI Arrest?

Second Criminal Offense:

  • If the second offense occurs within fifteen years of the first offense, the penalty is a fine between $2,500 and $5,000, a maximum of one year in jail, and a mandatory jail sentence of 10 days.
  • In addition to the mandatory 10-day jail sentence, a mandatory 15-day jail sentence shall be imposed if the blood/breath alcohol level is between 0.20 and 0.25 or if the urine alcohol level is .25 or more.
  • A mandatory 20-day jail sentence shall be imposed if blood/breath alcohol level is between .26-.30 or if urine alcohol is more than .32.
  • A mandatory 25-day jail sentence shall be imposed if the blood/breath alcohol level is greater than .30 or if the urine alcohol level is more than .39.
  • (If a person’s blood or urine contains a Schedule I chemical or controlled substance as listed in D.C. Code Section 48-902.04 (such as PCP, cocaine, heroin, methadone, morphine), an additional mandatory 20-day jail sentence shall be imposed.)

What are the Penalties for a 3rd DUI Offense in DC?

Third Criminal Offense:

  • If a person has two or more prior convictions within the previous 15 years, a fine between $2,500 and $10,000, a maximum of one year in jail, and a mandatory jail sentence of 15 days.
  • In addition to the mandatory 15-day jail sentence, a mandatory 20-day jail sentence shall be imposed if the blood/breath alcohol level is between 0.20 and 0.25 or if the urine alcohol level is .25 or more.
  • A mandatory 25-day jail sentence shall be imposed if blood/breath alcohol level is between .26-.30 or if urine alcohol is more than .32.
  • A mandatory 30-day jail sentence shall be imposed if the blood/breath alcohol level is greater than .30 or if the urine alcohol level is more than .39.
  • (If a person’s blood or urine contains a Schedule I chemical or controlled substance as listed in D.C. Code Section 48-902.04 (such as PCP, cocaine, heroin, methadone, morphine), an additional mandatory 25-day jail sentence shall be imposed.)

What is an OWI in DC?

it is illegal to Operate (be in physical control of) a motorized vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The law states that if someone consumes enough alcohol (or takes enough of a drug or medication) to impair his or her ability to operate a motorized vehicle safely, then they can face criminal charges.

Penalties for a DC OWI

First Offense:
A maximum fine of $500 and up to 90 days in jail.

Second Offense:
If the second offense occurs within fifteen years of the first offense, the penalty is a fine between $1000 and $2500, a maximum jail sentence of one year, and a mandatory jail sentence of five days.

Third Offense:
If a person has two or more prior offenses within the past 15 years of the instant offense, a fine of between $1,000 and $5,000, a maximum jail sentence of 1 year, and a mandatory jail sentence of 10 days.

Multiple DUI Convictions in DC

One of the fundamental issues that the court considers when addressing DUI and OWI is how many prior alcohol-related offenses the individual has had. Knowing the individual’s personal history informs the court of the sentencing parameters. Subsequent offenses carry greater penalties, and the maximum penalties vary.

  • Fourth offense DUI: Up to one year of jail time and a $5,000 fine.
  • Fifth-offense DUI: A mandatory minimum jail time of not less than 90 days nor more than 180 days or a $1,000 to $10,000 fine, or both.
  • Sixth-offense DUI: The penalty includes a maximum sentence of imprisonment for not more than three years and a $1,000 to $5,000 fine.

If convicted of a DUI or entering a plea of guilty in Washington D.C., the Department of Motor Vehicle will suspend your license. The DC superior court can suspend all sentences outside the mandatory sentence and impose a supervised or unsupervised probation period.

When Experience Matters

Michael Bruckheim has specialized experience and training in DUI defense in Washington, DC. Mr. Bruckheim is not only trained to administer field sobriety tests according to NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) standards, but he is also trained as an NHTSA Field Sobriety Test Instructor.

As a result, Washington DC DUI lawyer Michael Bruckheim is typically better trained than most officers who testify in OWI and DUI cases.  Mr. Bruckheim is the only licensed attorney in the District of Columbia to have completed an intensive training course in Forensic Chromatography, which is the process used to analyze blood and urine samples in Washington DC DUI cases.

As a former supervisor of OWI/DUI prosecutions in the District of Columbia, Michael Bruckheim has valuable insight into the thought processes behind Washington DC prosecutors. More importantly, he knows how to find weaknesses in their cases.

Due to his training and experience as a criminal lawyer, Attorney Michael Bruckheim clearly understands the consequences a person will face if convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol and can help his clients achieve the best possible results.

Patel Voted Top 100 Trial Attorney By The National Trial Lawyers

Attorney Sweta Patel has defended DUI charges and cases in the District of Columbia and the State of Florida. She brings a unique perspective and knowledge from her practice in multiple jurisdictions.

Attorney Sweta Patel’s trial skills cannot be disputed.

  • As a criminal lawyer, from 2011-2013, she received a verdict of not guilty in every DUI/OWI case that she took to trial. She won four back-to-back DUI jury trials.
  • From 2014 to the present, Sweta Patel has obtained a not guilty verdict at trial or has been able to obtain a diversion dismissal of the case in over 90 % of the cases where she has represented individuals charged with DUI.

Her passion for protecting her clients’ rights has gotten the attention of the Washington, D.C. community. She received the AVVO client’s choice award in 2014-2015 for DUI defense and currently has a perfect Avvo Rating of 10, along with an outstanding rating on Super Lawyers.

Ms. Patel is a skilled negotiator and has reached favorable plea bargains in her matters. If a favorable offer is not reached, she does not hesitate to litigate cases if necessary to protect her client’s interests.

With her extensive experience in defending Drunk driving Charges, Ms. Patel is dedicated to ensuring her clients get the most favorable result.

Highest Rated Criminal Defense Lawyer with a Perfect 10 Rating On AVVO

The experience and expertise of the Criminal defense team at Bruckheim & Patel are recognized by their peers at AVVO.

Our criminal defense team knows that there are many avenues to challenge a driving while intoxicated charge successfully. With a criminal record, driving privileges, and DUI penalties such as jail time at stake due to your arrest, it is essential that your attorney explores every possible angle to fight your OWI/ DUI criminal charges.

Bruckheim & Patel knows all the angles, has a wide variety of practice areas, and can put their experience to work for you, providing solid legal advice. Bruckheim & Patel offer these services DUI lawyer, DUI attorney, DUI attorney near me DUI lawyers near me, DUI attorneys, drunk driving lawyers in these zip codes: 20001, 20002, 20003, 20004, 20005, 20006, 20007, 20008, 20009, 20010, 20011, 20012, 20015, 20016, 20017, 20018, 20019, 20020

Washington DC areas we also service:

Washington DC, Cardozo, Navy Yard, Shaw, Capitol Hill, Logan Circle, Washinton Metropolitan Area, Mount Pleasant, Eckington, Hill East, Columbia Heights, Georgetown, Westchester, Stanton Park, Woodly Park, Dupont Circle, North Capital Street, Southwest Waterfront

Call for your Free DUI Consultation with an Experienced DC DUI Attorney

If you are facing charges of DUI or OWI in DC, contact Bruckheim & Patel. Call (202) 930-3464 to schedule a free legal consultation and discuss the legal process with our skilled attorneys.

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