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Where You Are Taken Following a DUI Arrest in DC

When someone is arrested for driving under the influence in Washington DC, the first place they are taken is to the local police district to be booked on the DUI. The person will then have their photograph and fingerprints taken and will be asked to submit to a breath or urine alcohol test.

Once they are processed at the local police district, the police have the option of releasing them with a citation to appear for their initial court date about three weeks later. However, as a DC DUI lawyer can tell you, the court also has the option of holding the person until they can be brought before a judge the following day.

In most first offense DUI cases, the person is released directly from the police station with a citation to appear before a judge for their arraignment hearing. If a person is not released on citation, after they are booked at the local police district, they are taken to the central cell block which collects everyone arrested from the various police districts so they can be transported at the same time to the DC court for arraignment.

Central Booking

Washington DC has a central cell block located at 300 Indiana Avenue, Northwest. The central cell block is the holding area where people arrested from the various police districts are gathered to be brought to the DC court at the same time.

When a person is not being released on citation, they are taken to the central cell block after they are finished with the booking process at their local police district. Everyone who arrives at central cell block by a certain “cut-off” time in the morning is brought to the DC court for arraignment that same day.  Everyone who does not arrive at central cell block by cut-off would be held until the following day’s court hearings.

What is the Difference Between Central Booking and Jail?

The central cell block is the holding area for people who are arrested but have not yet appeared before a judge for their arraignment.

The DC jail or the central detention facility is a maximum security facility. There are very strict security procedures and onerous conditions as opposed to other facilities in the area which have a lower security level.

The DC jail has an infirmary staffed by doctors and nurses. There are also no expectations to submit to a breath test in DC jail.

Bail Expectations

There is no bail in the District of Columbia, unlike Maryland or Virginia where a person can be released on a bond or a bail. After a person goes to the police station in DC, they are fingerprinted and their photo is taken.

Police officers attempt to administer a breathalyzer test or a chemical test after a DC DUI arrest such as a urine test. After several hours, the person is most likely released.

What Are Common DUI Release Conditions?

When someone goes to court for the first time in a DUI case, they are released on conditions from the court. If someone is released following an initial appearance for the DUI case, they receive a document with their next court date and details about their release conditions.

Often times, driving privileges are suspended when the person is charged with a DUI. Once a person goes to court and is charged with a DUI, their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit should be a 0.00. The other condition is that one cannot drive without a valid permit. One condition of DC DUI pretrial release is that the individual cannot drive after consuming any drug or alcohol.

Risks of Not Complying With Pretrial Release

When someone is accused of not complying with DC DUI pretrial release, they are brought back to court on the allegation that they violated their conditions of release.

The judge could hold the person until the end of their case. They could be ordered to attend to substance abuse classes and stricter conditions may be imposed while the case is pending. 

What Mandatory Minimum Means

A mandatory minimum period of incarceration means the judge does not have the discretion to give the person less than that period of jail time. For example, if a person is arrested for a first offense DUI, provides a breath sample to the police, and the resulting alcohol content comes back higher than 0.20, that person faces a mandatory minimum ten days of jail.

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