There are many consequences to a drug conviction, some well-known and others not obvious until you face it. One little-known consequence of a drug conviction in DC is that the DC Department of Motor Vehicles will automatically revoke your driver’s license. DC Code § 50-1403.02 requires the DMV to revoke DC driving privileges for any adult or juvenile conviction (or what they call in the juvenile system “adjudication”) for a drug offense. This is true whether the drug charge had anything to do with driving or whether you even have a driver’s license.*
Unlike many other reasons that the DMV will revoke or suspend a driver’s license, this provision does not provide for any notice to be given before the revocation (even though taking away a person’s license without notice is a violation of due process). And many lawyers don’t tell their clients that they will lose their license if they plead guilty to a drug charge. They should.
There are some exceptions: DC’s probation before judgment for first offenders under DC Code § 48-904.01(e) and a guilty plea under a deferred sentencing agreement are not considered convictions and should not lead to license revocation.
All in all, this is just another reason to think hard about taking a misdemeanor drug charge to trial rather than pleading guilty. There’s no such thing as an unwinnable case.
*If you don’t have a driver’s license, since there is nothing to take away, the statute says that this will delay the availability of a license for up to two years