Same Standard, Different Penalties for Drinking-and-Driving in DC

Jamison KoehlerDUI and Driving Offenses, Opinions/Cases

D.C. Superior Court judges, prosecutors, and defense attorneys have traditionally treated the criminal offense of Operating While Impaired (OWI) as if it were a lesser-included offense of Driving Under The Influence (DUI).  Although a specific standard for OWI cannot be found in either the statute or case law, judges have repeatedly stated that in order to secure a conviction for …

Emergency Legislation Results in Tougher Drinking-and-Driving Laws in D.C.

Jamison KoehlerDUI and Driving Offenses

A new D.C. law, which took effect on August 1, 2012, has increased penalties for people convicted of driving while intoxicated (DWI), driving under the influence (DUI) and operating while impaired (OWI).  For example, the penalty for a first-time conviction in a DUI/DWI case has gone up from a maximum fine of $300 and 90 days in jail to a …

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Alternative Treatment for First-Time Drug Offenders in D.C.

Jamison KoehlerDrug Offenses

With first-time offender treatment in D.C. generally restricted to marijuana possession, prosecutors frequently offer consideration under Section 48-904.01(e) of the D.C. Code as an alternative to taking a case to trial. Depending on the case, treatment under the Section can in fact be the preferred option for people charged with first-time possession of cocaine and other illegal drugs. However, unlike …

The “Disappearing Sway” In A DWI/DUI Case

Jamison KoehlerDUI and Driving Offenses

  “Swaying while balancing” is one of four “clues” used by a police officer to detect intoxication during the One-Leg-Stand component of the Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST).  The police officer would require only one other clue to mark the suspect down as having failed this component and arrive at the conclusion that there is a 65% (according to the …

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On Becoming Certified to Administer the Standardized Field Sobriety Test

Jamison KoehlerDUI and Driving Offenses

There is nothing more gratifying for a criminal defense lawyer than the moment on cross-examination when the prosecution’s key witness begins to sweat.  The witness gets that panicked or confused look in the eye and keeps glancing over at the prosecutor as if for help.  Uh oh, the look says.  This is not going as planned.  Defense counsel knows a …