D.C. Criminal Defense Attorneys

As a law firm located in Washington, D.C., our attorneys regularly handle D.C. criminal cases in the D.C. Superior Court and the D.C. Court of Appeals.  (These courts should not be confused with the United States District Court for the District of Columbia and the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which are federal courts.  For more information about federal courts, please visit our federal criminal defense page.)

The Superior Court of the District of Columbia is the primary trial level court of general jurisdiction for D.C.  Most criminal cases in the court are prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, although some misdemeanors are handled by the D.C. Office of the Attorney General.  Most criminal cases are heard by associates judges or, for less serious cases, magistrate judges.

Most criminal cases in Superior Court start with either a summons from police or an actual arrest.  If you have a received a summons for a D.C. criminal case, make careful note of the date and time of your first appearance.  If possible, consult with an attorney prior to this appearance so you can go in knowing as much as possible about the charge you’re facing and the local procedures.

If you or a friend or family member have been arrested in the district, you will appear before a D.C. associate or magistrate judge the day after the arrest, probably in courtroom C10 on the bottom level of courthouse.  At this initial appearance the judge will inform you of your right to counsel and set a status hearing for a few weeks out to see if your case is likely to require a trial.  You should contact an attorney immediately to begin reviewing your options and evaluating the facts of your case.

One of the unique features of Superior court is the wide variety of programs available to people with minor offenses and/or little or no criminal history.  These include deferred prosecution agreements, deferred sentencing agreements, the Youth Act, first offender drug offense probation, drug court, mental health court, and others.  A lawyer with experience in Superior court can inform you on the details of these programs and whether they are an option for your case.  Your lawyer should also be able to discuss the chances that your case may be “no papered”, “nolle prossed”, “dismissed for want of prosecution”, or otherwise terminated without a conviction.

Criminal cases in Superior Court run the gamut from traffic offenses to serious violent felonies and every case is different.  However, you may find the following pages about particular types of offenses helpful:

If you have been charged with a crime in D.C., call us today and one of our attorneys will give you a free phone consultation about your case.