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
Have a Safe Holiday
With the holiday season quickly approaching, residents and visitors to the District of Columbia are reminded to stay safe and drive sober during the holiday season. Tragically, impaired driving fatalities occur year round, but evidence shows that the holiday season is a particularly dangerous time on the roadways. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that in 2011, 760 people lost their lives as a result of impaired-driving-related crashes during the month of December alone. From 2007 to 2011, 14,318 people lost their lives in December. Twenty-nine percent (4,169) of those deaths resulted from crashes involving drivers with blood alcohol concentrations of .08 or higher.
Not only should drivers stay sober when behind the wheel, but drivers should also remember that cell phone usage and other types of distracted driving can have consequences that are just as devastating as driving when impaired by drugs and/or alcohol. Research shows that drivers using cell phones have slower reaction times than even those drivers with blood alcohol concentration levels over the legal limit. In 2012, 3,328 people were killed in distracted driving related crashes.
On December 19, 2013, law enforcement throughout the National Capital Region will be joining NTHSA as it kicks off its holiday “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” national crackdown against impaired drivers. Across the District, law enforcement efforts to prevent impaired driving will be increased. When enjoying your holiday celebrations, please: designate a sober driver before the party begins or plan a way to get home safely at the end of the night. If you are impaired, call a taxi, phone a sober friend or family member, use public transportation, or call your local free ride program. From December 13, 2013 through January 1, 2014, the Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP) will again be offering its free taxi service to help get folks home safely. Be responsible. If someone you know is drinking, do not let that person get behind the wheel.
The Office of the Attorney General wishes everyone a happy and safe holiday season.
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.
Traffic Safety Links
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
- DC Department of Transportation (DDOT)
- DC Department of Motor Vehicles
- Governors’ Highway Safety Association State Child Passenger Safety Laws
Impaired Driving Prevention Links
- Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP)
- Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD)
- Century Council
- Family Medical Counseling Services (Substance Abuse Counseling)
Law Enforcement Links
- Metropolitan Police Department
- United States Capitol Police
- United States Park Police
- Metro Transit Police
Firearm Safety and Registration Links
Other Useful Links
- District of Columbia Superior Court (DCSC)
- United States Attorney’s Office (USAO)
- DC Municipal Regulations (DCMR)
- Downtown Business Improvement District (BID)
- National Sex Offender Registry
- Court Services Offender Supervision Agency (Probation)
- Women Empowered Against Violence (Services for survivors of domestic violence)
- Ayuda (Services for survivors of domestic violence)