DUI Differences: What Driving Under the Influence will get you in DC, Maryland and Virginia

DUI Differences: What Driving Under the Influence will get you in DC, Maryland and Virginia

‘Tis the season when many holiday happy hours and Corporate Christmas parties leave DMV drivers with a decision to make – to drive home under the influence of eggnog or call up a designated driver. While the clear answer is “absolutely do not drive, you idiot,” time and time again DC’s commuters turn a short trip home into a long trip to the county prison with fines, lawyer fees, and insurance premium increases that would make even St. Nicks larger-than-life holiday budget jealous.

But what exactly are you facing when you decide to pilot your own sled home this holiday season rather than phoning for an Uber? Reston Limousine published and article this week that breaks it down for you – since good decision making isn’t the forte of someone calling the shots after taking the shots.

While next door neighbors, it’s more than obvious that each law enforcement agency handles driving infractions differents – with the heavy hammer typically falling from Virginia’s side (read this Jalopnik article on why driving in excess of the speed in VA is never a good idea). The theory still applies when it comes to DUI’s as well.

DUI Jail Time by State:

  • Virginia: no maximum for days in jail
  • Maryland: maximum of 365 days in jail
  • Washington DC: maximum of 90 days in jail

DUI Fines by State:

  • Virginia: $250
  • Maryland: maximum of $1,000
  • Washington DC: maximum of $300 – $1,000

DUI License Suspension by State:

  • Virginia: 12 months
  • Maryland: 6 months
  • Washington DC: 6 months

According to the same article, Virginia’s largest limousine service reported that in the last 30 days, the number of adults who reported drinking to excess were ranging from 1.4% (VA) to 1.9% with the highest amount being from the District. Maryland came in second at 1.8%.

Pulled from a Reddit thread on the issue, it’s also interesting to note that there is such as thing as Federal DUI’s issued by federal officers (such as those that guard the Pentagon). Reddit user, noonches, self-proclaim turtle expert, writes, “For a federal DUI, you get put on federal probation. Everything is mostly the same, you get sent to substance abuse classes, pay a fine, get put on probation (or face jail time were you a repeat offender). The only real difference was that the feds don’t have any control over your license, so rather than getting a restricted license, it becomes a condition of your probation to abide by the same restrictions. If you got pulled over, the cop there might not know about your restrictions, but it would flag you and your PO would see it and violate you.”

Recommended in the same thread, Redditor darkwing_darling recommends this chart to clock where your blood alcohol levels are at – should you be under the incorrect influence that you can drive home. Under current law, everything in red (.08 BAC and higher) is legally intoxicated.

While fines, license suspension, and potential jail time may seem like a risk some are willing to take, it’s important to note that these numbers don’t factor in the cost of hiring a DUI lawyer. According to the website of Virginia-based DUI lawyer Michael Pignone, DUI lawyer fees can range between $1,000 – $2,500. Think your wallet will be done bleeding out? From QuoteWizard, an online insurance quoting tool, you’re piggy bank will be lookin’ a little sad behind the eyes.

Bail - $150–$2,000
Towing and Impound - $100–$1,000
Added Insurance Costs - $5000+
DUI Lawyer - $2,500
Court Fines - $1,000
Alcohol Treatment/Education - $1,000
Licensing Fees - $150
Ignition Lock - $250

The Total Cost of a DUI : $10,000 – $15,000

So – enjoy the eggnog, but enjoy the freedom of not worrying about the drive home from the holiday party this year. With services like Uber, Lyft, and Reston Limousine (they’re article breaks down the costs of surge pricing – hint, still cheaper than a DUI), there’s little room for error when deciding how to get home on DMV roadways this year.

The driver is safer when the roads are dry; the roads are safer when the driver is dry. ~Author Unknown


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