Criminal Law DC: A Comprehensive Guide from jackarthur's blog

Criminal law in the District of Columbia (DC) is governed by the DC Code, which is a body of laws enacted by the DC Council. The DC Code contains all of the common criminal offenses, such as murder, robbery, assault, and burglary. In addition, the DC Code also includes a number of unique offenses, such as disorderly conduct, obstruction of justice, and trespass on federal property.

Criminal cases in DCare prosecuted by the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia. Defendants in criminal cases have the right to an attorney, and if they cannot afford to hire an attorney, one will be appointed to them by the court.

Types of Criminal Offenses in DC:

Criminal offenses in DC are classified as either felonies or misdemeanors. Felonies are the more serious offenses and can be punishable by imprisonment for more than one year. Misdemeanors are less serious offenses and can be punishable by imprisonment for up to one year, or by a fine, or both.

Some common examples of felonies in DC include:

  • Murder

  • Manslaughter

  • Rape

  • Robbery

  • Assault with intent to kill

  • Burglary

  • Arson

  • Drug trafficking

Some common examples of misdemeanors in DC include:

  • Assault

  • Battery

  • Theft

  • Disorderly conduct

  • Public intoxication

  • Trespass

Criminal Procedure in DC:

When a person is arrested for a crime in DC, they are taken to a police station for booking. During booking, the person will be fingerprinted, photographed, and charged with the crime. The person will also be given the opportunity to make a phone call and to speak with an attorney.

After booking, the person will be brought before a judge for an initial appearance. At the initial appearance, the judge will inform the person of the charges against them and will set a bail amount. If the person cannot afford to pay bail, they will be held in jail until their trial.

If the person is not released on bail, they will be scheduled for a preliminary hearing. At the preliminary hearing, the judge will decide whether there is enough evidence to support the charges against the person. If the judge finds that there is enough evidence, the person will be held for trial.

If the person is held for trial, they will be arraigned in front of a judge. At the arraignment, the person will enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. If the person pleads guilty, the judge will sentence them. If the person pleads not guilty, they will go to trial.

Criminal Trials in DC:

Criminal trials in DC are held before a judge or a jury. If the defendant chooses to have a jury trial, the jury will be selected from a pool of potential jurors. After the jury is selected, the trial will begin.

The trial will begin with the prosecution presenting its case. The prosecution will call witnesses and present evidence to prove that the defendant committed the crime. After the prosecution presents its case, the defendant will have the opportunity to present their case. The defendant can call witnesses and present evidence to prove that they are innocent.

After the defendant presents their case, the prosecution and the defense will give closing arguments. After the closing arguments, the jury will deliberate and reach a verdict. If the jury finds the defendant guilty, the judge will sentence them. If the jury finds the defendant not guilty, they will be released.

Criminal Defense Attorneys in DC:

If you are facing criminal charges in DC, it is important to contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. A criminal defense attorney can help you understand your rights and options, and can represent you in all aspects of your case.


Criminal law in DC is a complex and ever-changing field. If you have any questions about criminal law in DC, or if you are facing criminal charges, you should contact a criminal defense attorney.

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By jackarthur
Added Oct 20 '23



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