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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

National Teen Driving Safety Week is Oct. 19-25. The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (responsibility.org) with five other groups is sharing its teen driver safety program, IKnowEverything, which can be seen at http://IKnowEverything.com   The foundation tested teen driving safety knowledge among more than 2,000 high school students in urban, suburban and rural communities across the U.S. recently and found that less than half received a passing grade. Visit the program’s website for more information.

Designate a Sober Driver This Halloween

This year, Halloween falls on a Friday, and area police will be out on the roads looking for impaired drivers as part of an aggressive Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement effort.  If law enforcement catches you driving impaired by alcohol and/or drugs you will be arrested.  If convicted, you may face a mandatory period of jail.  

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), from 2008-2012, almost half (51%) of all crash fatalities on Halloween night involved an impaired driver or motorcycle operator. During that 5-year period, there were 166 people killed in impaired-driving crashes on Halloween night. And on a night best-known for trick-or-treaters in the streets, it’s no surprise that pedestrians make up a tragic number of those fatalities.  In 2012, 19 percent of the fatal pedestrian crashes on Halloween involved impaired drivers.
In the District of Columbia and nationwide, it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration above the legal limit.   Every year in the United States, thousands of people lose their lives as a result of an impaired driver.  In 2012 alone, 10,322 people were killed in crashes involving an impaired driver   

This Halloween, the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement campaign aims to save lives by reminding all drivers to follow these simple tips:

  • Before the Halloween festivities begin, plan a way to safely get home at the end of the night. If you wait until you’ve been drinking, —you’re more likely to make the wrong decision and drive impaired when you shouldn’t.
  • Always designate a sober driver.
  • If you are impaired, take a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation.
  • Washington Regional Alcohol Program’s (WRAP) 2014 SoberRide program will be offered from 10:00 p.m., Friday, October 31 until 4:00 a.m., Saturday, November 1.   To receive a free cab ride home (up to a $30.00 fare), please call 800-200-8294 (TAXI). AT&T customers may dial #WRAP from their wireless phones.  For more information please visit http://www.wrap.org/soberride/index.htm
  • Be vigilant and if you see an impaired driver on the road, contact local law enforcement.
  • If you know someone who is about to drive or ride impaired, take their keys and help them make safe travel arrangements to where they are going.

The Office of the Attorney General joins the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and over 10,000 law enforcement agencies nationwide in its mission to “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” during the annual end of the summer enforcement campaign beginning August 15, 2014 and continuing through the Labor Day holiday weekend.  In 2012 10,322 people were killed on the nation’s roadways as a result of an impaired driver. This equates to one person every 51 minutes. The District of Columbia reported 12 fatalities in 2012, and one third of those fatalities involved an impaired driver. This figure does not account for people whose lives have been spared but have nonetheless suffered catastrophic physical, emotional and economic injuries. Even more sobering, NHTSA reports that in 2012, 239 children age 14 and younger were killed in impaired driving crashes. In 52 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.
 
In the next couple of weeks, law enforcement throughout the District of Columbia and surrounding jurisdictions will increase efforts to crack down 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.
 
Acting NHTSA Administrator David Friedman urged motorists not to bring tragedy to the end of an enjoyable summer by risking your life and the lives of others after driving impaired.  Impaired driving is a 100 percent preventable crime and there is simply no reason to get behind the wheel after you have been drinking, period.  The alternatives are abundant: 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

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