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DUI In DC: Tougher Laws, Harsher Penalties Go Into Effect This Week

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Credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images

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WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — Beginning this week, the District will be cracking down on DUI offenders with new laws and the return of breathalyzers.

Effective Wednesday, the blood-alcohol limit for commercial drivers will be reduced from .08 to .04 percent. The law includes cab drivers.

First time offenders will face up to a $1,000 fine and a 180-day jail sentence. Previously, a $300 fine and 90-day jails sentence were the maximum.

If a person is convicted of a DUI while having a child in the car they will face a mandatory five-day jail sentence.

In addition, repeat DUI offenders with abnormally high BAC levels will face longer jail sentences.

The new laws go into effect on August 1.

Police officers will also be equipped with breathalyzer following a two-year absence. The machines were taken out of patrol cars in 2010 due to faulty calibrations.

Recently, neighboring Virginia also began enforcing tougher DUI laws. First-time offenders convicted of driving over the limit are subject to mandatory installation of ignition interlock systems in their vehicles.

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