Typically, a DUI case takes several months from start to finish from three to six months. When preparing your defense, it can be critical to understand the treatment of a DC DUI case and how that can impact the potential outcome of your trial. Contact an experienced DUI lawyer can help you prepare for the case being brought against you.
DUI cases in the District of Columbia are typically heard at the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. A group of three magistrate judges handle the majority of these cases. A person charged with a DUI has the option of taking their case from the magistrate and asking for an associate judge to handle their case. The judge could set the tone and overall treatment of a DC DUI case.
First-time offenses for DUIs are always bench trials with a judge who makes the decision about the charges. A second DUI charge within 15 years makes a person eligible for a jury trial, but there is an option for a bench trial for a second DUI or beyond.
A pretrial conference in the District of Columbia is a short conference to talk about various issues that are likely to arise in a trial. Some judges set the pretrial conference for a few days before trial. It begins with the information provided by the government which is called discovery.
The judge determines whether there are any outstanding requests that have not been honored. Those requests are dealt with and the discussion moves on to motions that were filed or are being filed. When the defense has issues related to evidence the government intends to use, those issues are dealt with initially the pretrial conference.
The Office of the Attorney General in the District of Columbia prosecutes DUI cases aggressively and they are tenacious when they seek jail time. It is a serious offense.
In the District of Columbia, a prosecutor must prove that a person was appreciably impaired by drugs, alcohol, a controlled substance, or another substance such as an over the counter medication.
The overall treatment of a DC DUI case will depend on whether the alleged crime was the individual’s first offense. If someone’s breath or blood alcohol level is not too high and there is no injury associated with the offense, there is a chance that the person could receive probation as a penalty. For subsequent offenses, however, jail time becomes much more likely.
The evidence presented in a DC DUI case is the testimony of the officer who administered the breath test, and possibly video from the body worn camera of the investigating officer.
The most recent trend in the treatment of a DC DUI case is the body worn camera worn by most officers. Body worn cameras can provide a firsthand look at what the officers sees during the stop. It makes cases much easier to litigate for the prosecution. The trend for body-worn cameras is related to legislation introduced several years ago that requires an officer to wear the camera system.
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