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Criminal Charges in Washington, DC

Our legal team has represented people in DC for a wide variety of criminal charges, ranging from criminal traffic offenses like driving under the influence and reckless driving, to misdemeanors like shoplifting, prostitution and simple assault, to domestic violence offences all the way up to serious felonies like robbery and sexual abuse.

Therefore, if you have been charged or accused of committing a criminal offense in Washington DC, it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced DC criminal defense lawyer today.

Difference Between Misdemeanors and Felonies in DC

A misdemeanor is a crime for which the maximum punishment a person could receive is no more than one year of incarceration. This differs from a felony which is a crime for which the maximum punishment a person could receive is greater than one year of incarceration.

Some common examples of misdemeanors are simple assault, destruction of property, driving under the influence of alcohol, and solicitation of prostitution. Common felonies include most kinds of sexual abuse, drug distribution except for distribution of marijuana and assault cases where the injuries were significant.

DC Court System

The nature of a case will help determine where the case is handled. First, you have the DC superior court which handles most crimes committed in the District of Columbia. These crimes include DUIs, assaults, drug possession, robbery and murder.

However, DC Superior Court does not handle moving infractions such as speeding tickets, parking tickets or other driving infractions, which are handled by the DC DMV. If you are convicted at trial in a DC Superior Court case, you can appeal the decision to the higher level court in DC which is the DC Court of Appeals.

Federal crimes committed in DC are heard before the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. These charges may include certain child pornography offences, fraud and drug trafficking. Cases heard before the US District Court for the District of Columbia are appealable to the higher level federal court in DC which is the DC Circuit Court.

Expectations After Charges are Filed

Once charges have been filed, your defense attorney has the ability to discuss the case with a prosecutor, to conduct an independent investigation, to file any possible motions to exclude illegally obtained evidence, and to begin the process of negotiating a resolution for your case. This applies whether you are charged with a misdemeanor or a felony. Even in lower level cases your defense attorney will investigate the evidence against you and attempt to resolve your matter.

In a felony case, your attorney will conduct an investigation, engage in negotiations with the prosecutor for reduced charges or penalties, and discuss with you the possibility of taking your case to trial.

Benefits of Hiring an Experienced DC Criminal Lawyer

The DC rules and procedures can be very different from many states. DC has a unique system in which we have two different prosecutor offices that handle different types of cases. We have the Office of the Attorney General which handles a number of traffic criminal offenses like DUIs, leaving after colliding, and operating after suspension and the US Attorney’s Office that handles assault, drug possession, murder, sexual abuse and other crimes.

As a result of DC’s unique position, having a lawyer who is highly experienced with DC procedure, the different DC prosecutor’s offices and how the different offices conduct their investigations is absolutely essential to your case.

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