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Implied Consent Law in D.C.

D.C. Code §50-1902 states that for the purpose of determining blood-alcohol/drug content, any person who operates a motor vehicle in the District is determined to have given consent to take two chemical tests. The arresting officer or appropriate law enforcement official has the sole discretion in determining whether a blood-alcohol or a blood-drug test will be given. If the officer suspects a person of driving under the influence, the test should be administered.

After receiving notice of one’s rights under the law, an individual may withdraw his/her implied consent and refuse to take either test or object to either test on valid religious or medical grounds. However, refusal will necessarily lead to a mandatory revocation of the individual’s license for 12 months and he/she will be denied the issuance of a license for 12 months after the alleged refusal.

If the individual was arrested in an alcohol/drug related traffic offense, it is mandatory that the individuals submit to alcohol and drug tests of blood, urine, or breath to determine whether he/she is under the influence. If the individual objects to the test being used as evidence because he/she was unconscious or incapable of refusing, the results of the test cannot be used as evidence. However, the license of that individual must be revoked. In the event the individual has no license, they cannot be issued one for 12 months. Evidence of one’s refusal is admissible in civil or criminal proceedings arising from the alleged acts committed prior to arrest.


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