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Posted by T Gail Maddox Levine, Esq | Apr 08, 2020 | 0 Comments

Many people think that a “DUI” occurs only when a person is literally drinking while they are driving  or when a person is driving when they are clearly drunk.   The truth is – that's not all it takes to be considered as “Driving Under the Influence” (DUI) in Washington, D.C.

In D.C., as in most other jurisdictions, a case for DUI is proven at trial when the government/prosecutor shows proof beyond a reasonable doubt that a person was operating a motor vehicle while they either:

  1. Had an alcohol concentration level at the time of testing at :
  • .08 gm.< per 100 ml. (blood),
  • .08 gm.< per 210 l. (breath), OR
  • .10 gm.</100 ml. (urine).


  1. One's ability to operate the vehicle was impaired by drugs, alcohol or a combination of drugs & alcohol to a degree that could be perceived or noticed.

The government is not required to show what kind of alcohol/drugs were involved.  This is important to note because it means that it doesn't actually matter whether the drug(s) involved were legal (i.e. a drug prescribed to you by a doctor or a legal OTC drug).  If the drug/alcohol used impaired a person's ability to drive – it can be used to support a DUI charge.

OK, so you might be asking – “What if I'm not driving?  Can I still be considered DUI under DC law?”  Well the answer to that hinges on how  the law defines “operating a motor vehicle”.  Under the law, “operating” is defined as having actual physical control over a vehicle; including driving it, pushing it, and even being parked whether the car is off/on.  Many other scenarios ca be included in defining “operating” ; but you get the point – it's not just driving.  It could be as simple as just sitting behind the steering wheel with the ability to drive.  And

That's knowledge you can use.

DUI Defense Team at the Law Offices of Maddox Levine PLLC

Have you or a loved one been charged with a DUI in Washington, D.C.? If so, it's time to contact a trusted DUI defense attorney at the Law Offices of Maddox Levine, PLLC.

Trust. Knowledge. Experience.  It all matters – so contact a lawyer who knows, by calling us today at 202-441-8810.

About the Author

T Gail Maddox Levine, Esq

Managing Partner T. Gail Maddox Levine is a tough and experienced trial attorney, who practices daily in DC Superior Court. She is a former prosecutor, who successfully developed a reputation as a fierce and determined advocate for her clients. She is we...


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