Recently in DUI/DWI Category

November 25, 2013

Cops Make Revenge Armed Robbery, Now Facing Criminal Charges

In Washington D.C. and nationwide, many citizens blindly trust that local, state and federal police officers are following the law and following protocol to achieve justice. Unfortunately, police officers and other officials have been caught up in scandals and misconduct that can make anyone lose faith in the criminal justice system. From evidence tampering to drug trafficking and other illegal activities, police officers can be caught up in crimes, often without ever getting caught. In a recent case, "rogue cops" were arrested and charged with armed robbery. The case highlights the reality that having a badge doesn't necessarily make an officer the "good guy."

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From investigations, through arrest and booking, and the criminal trial, navigating the justice system can be complex. Though we want to believe that police officers adhere to the Constitution, the law, and mandated protocols, this is not always the case. Our Washington D.C. criminal defense attorneys are experienced with all aspects of the criminal justice system. We know that every case demands a throughout investigation to protect your rights and to ensure a fair trial.

According to reports, two Detroit police officers robbed a group of men who allegedly stole a backpack and cell phone belonging to one of the officer's daughters. The teenage girl was riding her bike to a gas station when the officers claimed a man rushed her and took her bag. The officer's then traced the daughter's phone, where the officers arrived and confronted the alleged assailants gunpoint. After the officers retrieved the backpack, they struck one of the men in the face and stole a handgun, cash and marijuana. Now, the officers are now being charged with armed robbery, and failure to uphold the law. One of the officers will be charged with additional felonies. Officers will also face charges for willful neglect of duty and unlawful imprisonment.

Continue reading "Cops Make Revenge Armed Robbery, Now Facing Criminal Charges" »

February 11, 2012

D.C. DUI Watch: Country Star Sings the Blues After Arrest

Country music star Randy Travis may love you forever and ever (amen!), but he's likely singing the blues right now following an arrest on public intoxication charges earlier this month.

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While details of the incident are still emerging, Mr. Travis may have been somewhat fortunate, as he could have faced a much more serious charge of driving under the influence. Reports indicate he was in his car, behind the wheel, at the time of his arrest.
Unfortunately, not everyone arrested for a DUI in Washington, D.C. has Mr. Travis' start power, which could have played some role in the lesser charges. Still, having an experienced Washington D.C. DUI defense attorney can help you haggle with prosecutors for a reduced charge. Depending on the circumstances, there may even be a chance to have the charges dismissed altogether - and you don't need to be a millionaire country musician to afford it.

In Mr. Travis' case, a number of media outlets are reporting the singer was pulled over in the parking lot of a church in North Texas, where police found him in front of the wheel. It's not clear whether the keys were in the ignition or if the car was even on.
Officers at the scene reported Mr. Travis, 52, smelled strongly of alcohol, and a bottle of wine was on the seat next to him.

He reportedly stumbled out of the car. When officers tried to speak to him, they said his speech was slurred. And when they asked for his driver's license, he fumbled trying to find it.

What may be important to consider here is that some of Mr. Travis' actions could be explained by nerves. It's not difficult to understand why someone would be anxious if he knew reports of an arrest would be published worldwide. Our Washington D.C. DUI defense lawyers know that while the average Joe or Jane may not have to contend with global press coverage of the incident, he or she could face serious and irreparable consequences if the news reaches an employer.

Travis was reported to have told the officers at the time that he and his wife had gotten into an argument, and he was trying to get home following a Super Bowl party. The fact that he pulled over and wasn't actually driving when officers started their investigation appeared to have worked at least somewhat in his favor, as evidenced by the lesser charge.

The penalties for a public intoxication charge, which is a misdemeanor, are typically much less severe than those for a Washington D.C. DWI. If you are convicted of a public intoxication charge, you could face up to 90 days in jail and a $500 fine. Officers also have the option, though, to simply issue a citation and drop you off either at home or a nearby detoxification center.

A DWI or DUI, on the other hand, is going to bring a harsher punishment. For the first offense, you will face up to 90 days in jail and hundreds of dollars in fines, as well as license revocation for six months. If you are convicted of DUI a second time, you'll be facing fines of up to $5,000 and up to an entire year behind bars, as well as an additional 30 days of mandatory community service. Plus, you would lose your license for an entire year. Penalties would double on the second and any subsequent offenses.
All of these could seriously impact your wallet, personal relationships, employment and freedom.

That's why it's important that the first call you make following an arrest needs to be to your attorney.

Continue reading "D.C. DUI Watch: Country Star Sings the Blues After Arrest" »

January 24, 2012

Washington D.C. DUI Manslaughter Charges Keep Man In Jail Without Bail

A man who now faces DUI manslaughter charges in Washington D.C. is being held in jail without the option of posting bail, The Washington Post is reporting.

In Washington D.C., a driver who is involved in a fatal accident can be charged with two types of crimes. First, they may be charged with vehicular manslaughter or negligent homicide. The maximum penalty for vehicular manslaughter is up to 30 years in prison, while negligent homicide is up to five years.
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Charges of DUI in Washington D.C. that result in an accidental death are more likely to be filed as negligent homicide. But Washington D.C. DWI attorneys recognize that regardless of which charge a person faces, they are serious.

The death of a person is always going to bring great scrutiny by law enforcement officers, whether it was based on an accident or negligence. According to District of Columbia statutes 50-2203.01, negligent homicide is charged when a person operates a vehicle in a "careless, reckless or negligent manner" that causes the death of another. That includes pedestrians.

In this case, the defendant was charged with killing an 8-year-old boy in Alexandria, Virginia. During a court hearing, the man was ordered held without bail.

The Washington Post reports that the man's blood-alcohol level was .15, nearly two times the legal limit, during the accident, which happened around 2:30 p.m. one recent Sunday afternoon. The man allegedly admitted to police that he had been drinking and he failed several field sobriety tests.

The 22-year-old was driving a sedan near I-395 when he allegedly hopped a curb, traveled across some grass and then reportedly hit two pedestrians who were walking. An 8-year-old boy, who was walking with his mother, was killed. His mother now is recovering from two broken legs and a broken pelvis.

The defendant is scheduled to appear back in court in February. He faces charges of manslaughter, felonious bodily injury as a result of driving while intoxicated, reckless driving and driving without a license. Based on Virginia law, the man could face between 1 and 20 years on the manslaughter charge.

There are times when an accident is simply that -- an accident. But when a person is seriously injured or killed, law enforcement officers will be looking to blame someone.

Plenty of news stories have laid out examples of cases where two drivers collide and the one who has some alcohol in their system now faces a major felony charge. But police must fully investigate the details of the case. Accidents happen every day when two sober drivers are involved, so just because one may have been drinking or their blood-alcohol level is above the legal limit doesn't mean they are guilty of causing the crash.

In fact, ABC News recently reported that a Florida man is suing the victim of a 2007 crash even though he has already pleaded guilty to DUI manslaughter. He claims he entered the plea because he faced a possible life sentence, but believes the man who died as a result of an accident was to blame.

Continue reading "Washington D.C. DUI Manslaughter Charges Keep Man In Jail Without Bail" »

December 13, 2011

Be Careful This Holiday Season, as Police Seek Arrests for DUI in Washington, D.C.

For many people, the winter holidays mean some down time, away from politics, away from college and travel to a visit with families.

But for police, the holidays are a prime time to step up patrols and attempt to make as many DWI arrests in Washington D.C. as possible.
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As law enforcement authorities did during the Thanksgiving holiday, they will increase the number of law enforcement officers on the roads and take part in special projects designed to trap drivers. Our Washington D.C. DUI defense lawyers expect a significant number of officers to be on the roads during the holidays through the rest of the year.

As many news sources have reported, scores of drivers are expected to hit the road this holiday season. Some experts say more than 90 million people will be traveling, an increase from last year despite a hike in gas prices. More than 90 percent of those people are expected to be driving. That could mean that the Interstate 95 corridor should be even more packed with cars than normal through the rest of the year.

Maryland State Police reported arresting more than 100 people for DUI during the Thanksgiving holiday period, which was only a five-day period, WUSA9 reports. During that time period, 113 people were charged with DUI and troopers handed out another 10,000 traffic citations.

Our Washington, D.C., DWI lawyers certainly recognize that some people use this down time from work or school to have a few drinks while hanging out with family or friends. There's certainly nothing wrong with that if you're over 21. But where people get in trouble is if they attempt to drive after having a few too many.

And police have several ways to nab a person for drinking and driving in Washington, D.C.:

Sobriety checkpoints: Police will saturate an area, stopping vehicles randomly to make a quick check of the person's eyes and possibly their speech to see if there's any possibility they've been drinking and driving. While attorneys have fought these as unconstitutional because officers have no probable cause to suspect DUI in the first place, courts have allowed them.

Random stops: Police must have what's called probable cause in order to pull a vehicle over. This usually comes if a person is swerving, has a tail light out, runs a red light or commits another traffic infraction. This gets the officer to the driver, where the officer can make observations that can lead to a DUI investigation.

Speed traps: If police set up shop on high-traffic areas of the highway or local roads where people tend to accelerate, that can lead to another avenue for a DWI investigation. Once pulled over, the driver is up to the observations of the cop regarding whether he or she has been driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Police departments like to brag about how many DUI, DWI or OWI arrests they make during the holidays. Don't become a statistic. Drive safe and take precautions this holiday season. If you drink, don't drive. Get a designated driver and have a safe and happy holiday season.

Continue reading "Be Careful This Holiday Season, as Police Seek Arrests for DUI in Washington, D.C." »

December 6, 2011

Number of Female Drunken Drivers on the Rise; Police Combat DUI in Washington, D.C.

A recent report shows that female drunken driving arrests are up 36 percent in the last decade.

Our Washington D.C. DWI lawyers also reported recently on our blog that men made up 81 percent of DUI arrests, based on a 2010 survey.
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So, which statistics should you believe? More in-depth studies have shown that DUI nationwide is on a downward trend over the last several decades, like due to public relations campaigns fueled by government spending.

Regardless of what the statistics show, police will always make DUI in Washington D.C. a priority. This is partly because it is possible to kill someone in your vehicle (whether sober or not, mind you) and because if the news media reports incidents of DUI, DWI or OWI are on the rise it looks bad for law enforcement.

The bottom line is that everyone -- regardless of gender, race or age -- is at risk for being charged with drinking and driving at any time, assuming of course they actually have consumed alcoholic beverages. Police strive to make as many drunken-driving arrests as possible because it looks good for the department. A lull in numbers implies they aren't doing enough to stop it, even if that means there aren't as many dangerous drivers as people might think.

But simply being arrested shouldn't imply guilt. An arrest means a police officer believes there is probable cause to make an arrest. Probable cause is a low standard. It could mean the officer saw a person swerving and when they had a conversation after a traffic stop, the officer believed the driver talked funny.

Luckily for drivers who face this charge, probable cause can't put you in prison, put you on probation or hit you with other court-ordered sanctions. The prosecution must have proof beyond all reasonable doubt in order to get a conviction and that's different altogether.

That's why many times charges are dropped by prosecutors between the time a person is arrested and arraigned. If the officer has little proof to secure a conviction, the charges could go away. If an experienced Washington, D.C., DWI lawyer shows the prosecutor that there is proof in the defendant's favor that he or she wasn't driving drunk, the charges also could be dropped before trial.

According to The Washington Post story, a recent study shows the number of women involved in drunken driving arrests is up 36 percent in the last 10 years. The characteristics of the typical female arrested for DUI are interesting -- more educated and older than her male counterpart.

The article goes on to talk about the 2009 incident of a New York mother who was drunk and high when she went onto the wrong side of a highway and caused a crash that killed three men in another vehicle, her, her daughter and her three nieces.

It brought to light the problem of parents and, in particular, mothers who may be drinking while taking care of their children. Having a glass of wine or two while visiting with a friend may be no problem, but it could cause your blood alcohol level to be above the legal limit of 0.08.

Continue reading "Number of Female Drunken Drivers on the Rise; Police Combat DUI in Washington, D.C." »

November 29, 2011

Washington, D.C., No. 1 in U.S. in Fatal Hit-And-Run Accident Rate

It's a statistic that District of Columbia residents probably aren't proud of -- Washington, D.C., has the highest rate of fatal hit-and-run accidents in the country, WTOP reports.

Many hit-and-run accidents are the result of drinking, so hiring an experienced Washington, D.C., DWI lawyer would be the smart thing to do.
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Being charged with DWI in Washington, D.C., can be daunting for someone who hasn't been introduced to the criminal justice system. Many people who cause an accident and drive off aren't doing it because they're trying to be disrespectful or hurtful, but because they're terrified of the consequences, even if the accident isn't their fault.

In cases where a person dies as the result of a vehicle accident, a driver can face vehicular homicide or negligent homicide charges in Washington, D.C. These are serious charges that can lead to years behind bars.

According to the news story, one in every six fatal accidents between 2000 and 2009 in the District of Columbia were caused by a person who left the scene, Mid-Atlantic AAA reports. According to the organization's statistics, that's 76 people who died, which includes not only other drivers, but also pedestrians and bicyclists.

Washington, D.C., didn't have the highest number of fatal hit-and-run accidents in the mid-Atlantic region, but the highest rate based on traffic deaths. In Maryland, 279 of the 6,219 traffic deaths involved drivers who took off to avoid arrest. In Virginia, 217 of the 9,161 fatal accidents were hit-and-runs. In the District, 76 of the 465 deaths -- 16.3 percent -- were hit-and-runs. Maryland, at 4.5 percent and Virginia, at 2.4 percent, were considerably lower.

A person convicted of negligent homicide can face up to five years in prison. If a driver also flees the scene, additional charges can be filed. Many people who are found guilty of fleeing the scene of an accident get caught based on witness testimony, paint samples matching a vehicle, video surveillance and media exposure.

Attempting to fix a vehicle that has been in a bad accident when news reports are swirling about someone who committed a hit-and-run accident, especially when someone has died, could be next to impossible. It is better to avoid the crime of leaving the scene of an accident.

Even if you believe you may have caused the crash, there are defenses. It may be possible that the other driver was at fault, traffic lights were faulty or your vehicle had mechanical issues. In cases where DWI or DUI is alleged, breath testing, field sobriety tests and other issues can be brought up in defense of the client.

Not every case appears as it seems and not every person arrested by police is guilty. That's why hiring an experienced Washington, D.C., DWI lawyer is so important. You have rights and they must be upheld at every stage of the case. Well-researched defenses must be presented.

Continue reading "Washington, D.C., No. 1 in U.S. in Fatal Hit-And-Run Accident Rate" »

November 17, 2011

Washington D.C. Traffic, DWI Will Increase As Holiday Season Approaches

As the holiday season approaches, many people have time off from work so they can slow down and enjoy some relaxation before the new year kicks everyone back into gear.

But traffic and police don't take a break for the holidays. In fact, it's quite the opposite.
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Law enforcement officers will be on the lookout using increased patrols, sobriety checkpoints and other methods to try to arrest people for DUI in Washington D.C.

There will also be an increase in traffic. Last year, AAA estimated there would be 51 million people on the roads between Christmas and New Years, which can easily lead to an increase in vehicle accidents and traffic tickets. Many traffic violations in Washington D.C. can even lead to jail time and hefty fees.

If you are saddled with any traffic-related violations this holiday season, you should consult with an experienced Washington D.C. traffic ticket lawyer. There are defenses to these charges that must be investigated before a person considers the idea of accepting a plea deal or paying a waiver. Points on your license, increased insurance premiums and even job loss can result from a poor driving record.

The Associated Press recently reported about an incident that happened outside the Occupy DC protests where three protesters were struck by a motorist.

Because of conflicts in statements between protesters and the police, the news wire service reports, the driver won't face charges. Police have said that the collision was unavoidable. The three protesters allegedly were blocking the roadway even though the driver had a green light. They were hospitalized and later released.

The protesters, who dispute the story and say that the driver was impatient and sped toward them, were cited for obstructing traffic and walking against a do-not-walk sign.

A second Associated Press article claims that data released through an information request shows that police in Washington D.C. have arrested 3,500 drivers in the past two years whose cars were unregistered or who had expired tags. While most weren't locked up, the hassle is unwarranted for what is often a simple oversight.

In 250 of the cases, people were sent to jail. But the majority agreed to pay a fine or received a citation in lieu of a ticket or a trial date. The article goes on to state that officers in the district have the discretion to bring someone to jail for these violations, but don't the majority of the time.

It's unclear if Washington D.C. is the only jurisdiction in the country that allows for jail time for an expired tag. But an AAA official said he wasn't able to find one. He believes that only people charged with reckless driving or DUI should be locked up. He found it outrageous that police are taking people to jail for a minor traffic infraction.

Keep in mind this holiday season that police have a variety of ways to disturb your life and lock you up. Practice safe driving habits and try to stay out of trouble. But if you are arrested by police, contact an experienced D.C. defense lawyer immediately.

Continue reading "Washington D.C. Traffic, DWI Will Increase As Holiday Season Approaches" »

October 24, 2011

On Halloween Related Criminal Charges in Washington, DC

pumpkin_halloween.jpgAs Halloween approaches, many in the Washington, DC area are enjoying the cooler weather (especially if you live in a building where the air has already been switched over to heat) buying costumes and decorating and planning parties. As a DC criminal defense attorney, I get to see another side of the holiday.

Obviously, many people will be driving to parties and drinking alcohol. I urge you to drink responsibly and use a designated driver because the DC Police, US Park Police, and Capitol Police will be out in force to make DUI arrests. It is also common for the police to set up field sobriety checkpoints in areas where drunk driving is likely such as Adams Morgan and in an around the US Capitol grounds. There will also likely be an increase in alcohol related arrests throughout the District such as fake ID charges (ABC violations), underage drinking, possession of an open container (POCA), and simple assault.
In case you are wondering why I have included simple assault, it's because most arrests for it in the District happen at a bar and often involve the innocent victim being charged. I have represented many clients who had actually been assaulted by the bouncers who are double their size, been banged and bruised, and had their cell phones smashed, only to wind up in the back seat of a police car. One reason for this frequent occurrence is that the police will often ask the club staff what happened and write this version of the story in the police report. This is especially true if the club or bar regularly hires off-duty police officers for security. Such officers have unofficially told me that while they represent the Metropolitan Police Force, they are being employed by the business and tend to do what the owners expect of them.

I should also mention that we often see a lot of juvenile arrests around Halloween. Whether, your child is arrested for destruction of property, assault, or just a prank gone wrong, as I have mentioned in previous posts on this issue, contact an attorney immediately so there is a better chance of moving past the unfortunate incident.

September 26, 2011

On Washington, DC DUI Arrests and the Use of Urine Testing by Police

Lab Testing.jpgAs I have discussed on previous posts, the Washington, DC Metropolitan Police (MPD) is no longer using breathalyzers during DUI arrests. While this may change when they finally get an approved program, for now, their other options are urinalysis or blood testing to determine a driver's blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Blood testing is basically never used unless the driver is in the hospital being treated for injuries. The reason for this is that DC law requires the blood to be drawn by licensed medical professionals such as a physician or registered nurse, and the police just don't have the resources. For that reason, urine testing is the method used in the district by every police agency except the US Capitol Police, who still have a breath-testing program. In case you are used to TV crime shows like CSI or NCIS where they get the results almost instantly, in real life, it takes around 90 days from the time of your arrest to get urine test results back.

The delay in getting results compared to a breathalyzer is not the only difference when it comes to urine testing and DUI charges. Washington, DC criminal defense lawyers who handle drunk driving cases must understand and be able to explain to the client what the results mean in order to challenge them in court. First of all, urine test results are generally a lot higher than breath test results. While there is not a direct scientific conversion chart readily available, the law in the District considers a 0.32 urine BAC the same as a 0.25 breathalyzer BAC. The reason these two numbers have such significance is that a conviction at these respective levels requires a minimum mandatory 10 days in jail which cannot be waived or suspended. However, it may be possible to fight the charges by challenging the urine test results.

One factor that is important to realize is that there is not constant volume of blood to urine in the human bladder. According to research, it can vary as much as 30 percent. This makes getting an exact number such as 0.32 more difficult. There is also the possibility of urine test equipment operator errors that lead to reasonable doubt in court. The lab uses equipment such as gas chromatography mass spectroscopy machines that must be properly calibrated and used to get an accurate and precise result. This is not always the case. Your Washington, DC DUI defense lawyer can cross-examine the lab technician in court about how the equipment was maintained and how the test was performed.

Continue reading "On Washington, DC DUI Arrests and the Use of Urine Testing by Police" »

August 31, 2011

On Holiday Travel and Washington, DC DUI Charges

172386_cookout_2.jpgWith Labor Day just a few days away, I thought it might be a good idea to discuss the increase in DUI charges seen by Washington, DC criminal defense lawyers following many holidays. With summer holidays, people often drive to see friends and family and enjoy a BBQ. Labor Day may be the last chance of the year. This usually means there will be a lot of drinking. If you plan on doing this, please drink responsibly or use a designated driver. The best way to avoid a Washington, DC drunk driving charge is not to drink and drive. Unfortunately, many will not follow this advice. If you are one of the unlucky ones, you may find yourself in an accident, jail, or both.

The DC Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), US Park Police, and US Capitol Police tend to crack down on drunk driving around holidays with increased presence, and DUI checkpoints. I have talked about field sobriety testing in great detail in previous posts, so I will focus more on what happens when you first get pulled over in Washington, DC. After the officers observe the vehicle in motion and decide to stop a driver, they will be observing everything that happens. According to most police reports, they will observe the strong odor of alcoholic beverages as soon as the window is lowered. They will observe glassy and bloodshot eyes, and maybe even slurred speech. They will ask the driver for his or her license and registration, but distract the driver after receiving the license in hopes that he or she will forget to hand over the registration. This is called a "divided attention test." They will ask the driver if he or she has been drinking, and the response will usually be "I only had a couple of drinks." At this point, they will make the driver exit the vehicle and give a number of field sobriety tests such as making the driver follow their pen/finger/flashlight with his or her eyes, walk in a line, and stand on one foot. Even if the driver thinks they did well, they will probably be arrested and charged with DUI.

The truth is, most police reports read the same way because the officers usually write the same things each time they make a report even though it may not be what actually happened. They will take out their computer template at the end of night, change some names and details, and submit the report. Your DUI attorney can explain this to you as it may apply to your actual situation, but it is often possible to challenge these details in court. This is a good reason for fighting a DUI in some cases because you can't "beat" the charge by pleading guilty. It is important to remember that an arrest is not a conviction.

August 4, 2011

Al Pacino's Daughter Arrested on DUI Charges: On Sobriety Checkpoints

dc-sobriety-checkpoint.jpgAccording to a recent story from Reuters, the 21 year-old daughter of Al Pacino was arrested and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) in Manhattan. It has been reported that Julie Pacino was stopped at a sobriety checkpoint where officers noted that she had bloodshot, watery eyes, slurred speech, and the had the odor of alcohol on her breath. James Duffy, a spokesperson for the NYPD stated that Pacino admitting to drinking three beers and smoking marijuana before reaching the DUI checkpoint.

As a Washington, DC DUI lawyer, I speak with a lot of people have been arrested for drunk driving. Some of these people were charged with a DUI or DWI after being stopped at a sobriety checkpoint. The DC Metropolitan Police (MDP) tend to set-up DUI checkpoints in areas like Adams Morgan around the time bars are closing. They will stop some cars and let others though based on what is supposed to be a set, predetermined order. For example, they may stop one car, let four cars through, and then stop the next car. As long as they follow this procedure, they do not need any probable cause to stop a car check for drunk driving.

After stopping a car, the police will ask you to roll down your window so they can observe your eyes, speech, hand movements, and smell for the odor of alcoholic beverages. I say alcoholic beverages because pure alcohol does not have any odor. It is colorless, odorless liquid. It is actually the "congeners of alcohol" created during the fermentation process. While this may seem like a useless fact, it can be used successfully during cross-examination of a police officer claiming to be an expert on drunk driving and the effects of alcohol on drivers.

Getting back to the car stop, if the police suspect you may be intoxicated, they can ask you to exit the vehicle and perform field sobriety tests, which I have discussed in previous posts. Again, this is okay, if the police pulled you over based on that predetermined order. In fact, they can choose any number of cars to allow through they want, but they have make that decision and stick with it throughout the entire time they are running the DUI checkpoint. If they get careless, as often happens, the stop may not be constitutional. If your DC DUI attorney can show this in court, the government may be forced to dismiss the charges against you.

Continue reading "Al Pacino's Daughter Arrested on DUI Charges: On Sobriety Checkpoints" »

July 20, 2011

An Alcohol Related Hit and Run in the Washington, DC Metro Area: on Leaving after Colliding Charges

crash_car.jpgAccording to a recent story in the Washington Post, Alexander Coreas hit a stopped vehicle on the Washington, DC Beltway and drove away from the scene. Both vehicles sustained heavy damage. The stopped vehicle was driven by Charles Adjei-Twum, who was standing behind his car when he saw Coreas allegedly coming towards him and jumped into the back seat of his vehicle to avoid serious injury. According to reports, a witness called the police after the crash while following Coreas as he fled the scene. Coreas was arrested and charged with driving under the influence (DUI), and a number of other traffic violations including unsafe operation, hit-and-run (leaving after colliding), failure to control speed to avoid a collision, and failure to stop at a stop sign.

As a Washington, DC criminal defense attorney who handles DUI charges and traffic violations, I would like to discuss a leaving after colliding (LAC) charge. A LAC charge may involve personal injury or property damage. A hit and run charge that involves property damage is called a "LAC PD" charge in Washington, DC. If you have been charged with LAC PD, while this is a serious offense, it is important to remember than an arrest does not necessarily mean you will be convicted. One of the most important things your lawyer can assist you with is contacting your insurance company and obtaining proof that the owner of the vehicle that was hit has been compensated for any damage to his or her vehicle. This may help you obtain a favorable resolution to your case.

Leaving after colliding is a serious offense in Washington, DC because you are alleged to have left the scene of an accident rather than staying to make sure everybody is okay. Your DC traffic violations lawyer may be able help you take responsibility in court in a way that can reduce the charges you are facing.

July 4, 2011

The Law Office of Daniel A. Gross, PLLC would like to wish all of our friends, family, and clients a happy Fourth of July.

fireworks.jpgI would like to take this opportunity to wish all of our clients, friends and family a safe and happy Fourth of July. I would also like to stress that while this a great time to go to BBQs and watch fireworks, it is often a day that sees many DUI related arrests and alcohol-related traffic accidents. The police around Washington, DC such as the US Capitol Police, the US Park Police, and the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), typically set up field sobriety checkpoints to catch drunk drivers.

If you should find yourself in the unfortunate position of having been arrested for a DUI or DWI in Washington, DC, you should contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible, but keep in mind that it is much easier and safer to call a taxi or use a designated driver. Many people don't realize how little it takes to reach the legal limit. In Washington, DC, the legal limit for a driving while intoxicated (DWI) charge is 0.08. This can be tested using a breathalyzer, urinalysis, or blood test. It is does not always require a large of amount of alcohol to be consumed to be over the limit. Even if you are below the legal limit, you can still be charged with a driving under the influence (DUI) charge if the officers can prove that you were under the influence of alcohol.

There is often a lot that can be done to help your situation if you find yourself in a police holding cell at the end of the night with a DUI arrest, but I urge you to play it safe and get a ride home so you're not in this situation.

June 7, 2011

Alcohol-Related Crash in the Washington, DC Metro Area Results in Three Deaths: On DUIs and Alcohol-Related Accidents

flares.jpgAccording to a recent story in the Washington Times, a GMC Yukon collided with a Mazda 3 causing the car to run off the road and into a tree. The driver of the Mazda, Eugene Johnson, passenger, Gwendolyn Demby, and an additional female passenger, whose identity has not been released, were all killed. PGC Police believe that the operator of the Yukon was speeding and driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol at the time of the accident. It should be noted that the driver is being held by police but no formal charges have been filed.

As a Washington, DC criminal defense attorney who handles DUI charges, I often get calls from people who were involved in an accident prior to being arrested for DUI. If you are arrested for drunk driving, you will be charged with either driving while intoxicate (DWI), driving under the influence (DUI), or operating while impaired (OWI), or a combination of all three. In Washington, DC, a DUI means that you are accused of driving under the influence of alcohol. No specific BAC score is required through a breathalyzer, urine test, or blood test. The officer can testify based on the totality of circumstances such as how you performed on field sobriety tests. A DWI in DC means that you had a BAC score of 0.08 grams per milliliter of blood or higher. The government is not required to prove actual impairment. For both of these charges, the maximum penalty for a first offense is up to 90 days in jail and/or a $300 fine. An OWI means that you were impaired in any way by alcohol. This is easier for the government to prove and has a maximum penalty of 30 days in jail for a first offense.

If you were involved in accident, the situation may become more complicated. The first question is whether you stayed on the scene or drove away. If you are accused of leaving the scene (hit and run), you can be charged with leaving after colliding (LAC) in addition to the DUI. The police determine if there was any property damage (LAC PD) or personal injury. If a person was killed, you can be charged with more serious charges including negligent homicide (involuntary manslaughter) in Washington, DC. It is important to remember that these are only allegations and nothing has been proven. In other words, an arrest for DUI is not a conviction.

May 12, 2011

Taking the Nickel: On Why it Might not be a Good Idea to Talk to the Cops (Part Three)

638063_beer_4.jpgIn parts one and two of this series on taking the nickel, I looked at gun charges and drug charges in Washington, DC. In this third part, I would like to look at how this applies to a driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI) charge.

When the police pull someone over on suspicion of drunk driving, they are trained to observe and report everything the driver does or says. This includes how quickly and safely the driver is able to pull over, whether there is a strong odor of alcohol, fumbling fingers, slurred speech, and many other clues. They can use any number of interrogation techniques and field sobriety tests. Specifically, the three Standardized Field Sobriety Tests approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The Washington, DC Metropolitan police, US Capital Police, and US Park Police who pull drivers over on suspicion of drunk driving, are also trained to ask three questions. They ask where you were driving to, if you have been drinking, and if you have had anything to drink since you got in the car. The questions may be phrased a little differently, but the point is to establish that you have been driving a vehicle, had been drinking and are under the influence of alcohol, and must have been drinking alcohol before you drove, not after. These are the three basic elements required for a DUI in Washington, DC.

As a Washington, DC DUI lawyer, I always ask new clients if the police asked them if they had been drinking, because I know the answer is going to be in the police report. When I read the report, the answer is generally, "yes," "yes, I had one or two drinks," "two or three drinks", and even the occasional "yes, I'm drunk." When I was in class to receive my certificate for training in DWI Detection and Standardized Field Sobriety Testing (the same course taken by police), I asked the instructor, a 28-year veteran on the state police who had pulled over thousands of people for suspicion of DUI, what he did when somebody said "I only had a one or two beers." His answer was "automatic arrest." You've probably seen hundreds of defendants on the TV show COPS give the same answer and get arrested; yet, for some reason, it seems like a good idea to say it. It is best not to admit to drinking.

If you are reading this blog because you have already been arrested for a DUI in Washington, DC and you answered in one of the ways discussed above, all is not lost. There is a lot your DUI attorney can do to help. Always remember that an arrest is not a conviction.