FAQs

In the District of Columbia, most officers are trained to decide whether they are going to issue a ticket before the approach the vehicle that has been stopped for speeding or another moving violation. If the officer asks if you know why he or she pulled you over, it may be best to politely decline to answer. This also applies to the question about how fast you were going.

In Washington, DC, if you have been charged with a DUI, DWI, or OUI, and it is your first offense, you have no criminal record, there was no accident, you did not do anything really offensive such as yelling and cursing at the police, and had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of less than 0.1%, you may be entitled to a Deferred Sentencing Agreement (DSA).  With a DSA you will plead guilty to the DUI and go to probation for a certain period of time.  If you successfully complete the probation, the charges will be dismissed, and you will have the conviction removed from your record.

If you are arrested in the District of Columbia on suspicion of drunk driving, you will most likely be taken to an MPD District station where you will be booked and placed in a holding cell until you are sober.  You will probably be released from there and given a summons to appear in traffic court.  Unless there is was an accident or something else involved, you will probably not be taken to the Central Cell Block on Indiana Avenue. If you are convicted of a DWI or DUI and blew less than 0.20% on a breath score, and this was your first offense, you most likely not go to jail.  You may get a suspended sentence with probation. Your DUI defense attorney should explain this to you.

In Traffic Division of the DC Superior Court, judges are sometimes skeptical about radar gun results. It is not that the device itself is inaccurate, but rather the method in which the radar was used to issue a speeding ticket. The officer is supposed to use their own judgment to estimate the speed of a vehicle and then use the radar to confirm this. It is an active process that requires the officer’s attention. If the officer was sitting in the cruiser with a car mounted radar device and waiting for the alarm to go off, this can be challenged in court.

Police in Washington, DC commonly use a 3rd Generation LIDAR gun such as the Prolaser III. While this device may be accurate, it requires both laboratory and field calibration. The police officer attempting to use a LIDAR device must calibrate the range and alignment of the sighting mechanism. There have been many cases when they have not done so, and your speeding ticket defense lawyer should cross-examine the officer on the witness stand.

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