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Criminal Section

The Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia (OAG) is one of two prosecutorial entities in the District, the other being the United States Attorney’s Office. The Criminal Section of the Public Safety Division (PSD) of OAG prosecutes adults who commit certain criminal offenses within the District. Specifically, the Criminal Section prosecutes five primary categories of criminal offenses:

Criminal Traffic Offenses

  • Impaired Driving Offenses
  • Reckless Driving, Speed in Excess of 30 mph over the Posted Limit
  • Leaving After Colliding
  • Operating After Suspension
  • No Permit

Certain Weapons Offenses

  • Unregistered Firearms
  • Unlawful Possession of Ammunition
  • Possession of a BB Gun
  • Possession of Illegal Self Defense Spray
  • Possession of a Destructive Device.

Quality of Life Offenses

  • Possession of an Open Container of Alcohol
  • Disorderly Conduct
  • Indecent Exposure
  • Metro Misconduct offenses
  • False Report to the Police
  • Fishing Without a License
  • Drinking in Public

DC Municipal Regulation Offenses

  • Unleashed Dogs
  • Counterfeit Vehicle Tags
  • Vending Violations

Certain Fraud Against the District Offenses

  • Tax Fraud
  • Welfare Fraud

Impaired driving offenses are among the most egregious offenses prosecuted by the Criminal Section of PSD. In 2011, almost 10,000 people were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes in the United States. That means that someone is killed every 53 minutes because of an entirely preventable crime. Attorneys in the Criminal Section work diligently to prosecute impaired driving offenses and to ensure the safety of the District’s roadways.

Traffic Safety Resource Prosecutor’s Blog

Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over

The Office of the Attorney General joins the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in its mission, “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.”  Each year nearly 10,000 people are killed on the road as a result of impaired driving.  This equates to one person every 53 minutes.  This figure does not even begin to account for people whose lives have been spared but have nonetheless suffered catastrophic injuries.  Even more sobering, the NHTSA reports that in 2010, 211 children were killed in impaired driving crashes.  In 62 percent of those deaths, the child was riding with an impaired driver.

Holidays like Labor Day are particularly dangerous for encountering impaired drivers.  In the past five years, NHTSA reports that over 800 people were killed in impaired driving crashes over Labor Day weekend.

Law enforcement throughout the District of Columbia and surrounding jurisdictions is stepping up efforts to crackdown on impaired driving.  Suspected impaired drivers may face heightened penalties and mandatory minimum jail terms for operating impaired with minors in their vehicle, having certain types of drugs in their system, and for operating commercial vehicles, including taxicabs.  Further, the District is approaching the one year anniversary of Metropolitan Police Department’s (MPD) revitalized breath test program.  Since its inception on September 28, 2012, 72 MPD police officers have been certified to operate the District’s breath test instruments, and over 700 suspected impaired drivers have submitted to breath testing.

Impaired driving is a 100 percent preventable crime. There are many alternatives to getting behind the wheel after having too much to drink.  Take a taxi or public transportation, designate a sober driver, or call a friend or loved one.  Remember, if you make the choice to get behind the wheel after having too much to drink, law enforcement will find you.

Kids in Cars

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motor vehicle crashes are the number one cause of death of children ages one to fourteen years old in the United States. The best way to protect children in the car is to put them in the proper, age appropriate restraint and to use it the right way.  All 50 states, including the District of Columbia, require child safety seats for infants and children fitting specific criteria. The District of Columbia also requires booster seats or other appropriate devices for children who have outgrown their child safety seats but are still too small to use an adult seat belt safely.

Imagine the risk to the improperly restrained child if the driver of the vehicle is also impaired by alcohol or drugs. NHTSA says that in 2010 17% of those deaths from vehicle crashes involved an alcohol impaired driver. To combat this grave statistic, for the first time in the District, impaired persons who drive with children in their vehicles are subject to mandatory jail terms, and the penalty increases when the child is not properly restrained. It is irresponsible for adults to put their lives at risk by driving impaired.  It is unconscionable to endanger the lives of innocent children. 

Useful Links

Traffic Safety Links

Impaired Driving Prevention Links

Law Enforcement Links

Firearm Safety and Registration Links

Other Useful Links