Washington, D.C. - Things just got tougher for people caught drinking and driving in Washington D.C. as lawmakers pass strict laws in an effort to keep their roads safe.
Each year about 2,000 people are arrested for intoxicated driving in the D.C. area. About 30 percent of fatal traffic accidents are caused by drunk drivers. In an effort to address the issues, lawmakers have passed tough laws with stricter penalties. Other states, such as New Jersey have recently pushed for tougher DUI laws.
Now in D.C., you can face a DUI if your blood alcohol content is .04, so just a minimal amount of alcohol has the potential to put someone above the legal limit. Previously, the legal limit in the capital was .08. Police will also reinstate the breathalyzer program, which was shelved in February because the machines were not properly calibrated. Officials hope to have the breathalyzers up and operating next month.
The fines in many cases will double or triple depending on the particulars involved.
Starting August 1st, the penalties for a first offense will go up from a $300 fine and 90 days in jail to a $1,000 fine and a year in jail.
The District is also making jail time mandatory in many cases. If a person is arrested for DUI with a child their car, they will be required to spend five days in jail. Commercial and taxi drivers will have a mandatory 10 day jail sentence.
As states get tougher on drunk drivers, their best chance of avoiding jail is to hire a DUI attorney who will work hard to stop conviction or plea to a lesser charge, if possible.