What Happens After An Assault Arrest in DC

If a person is arrested on allegations of a misdemeanor assault charge, the individual is taken to the local police station by the arresting officer, booked, and processed. Booking and processing means that the officers get the suspect’s fingerprints and booking photographs, and take care of other necessary paperwork.

At that point, the officer has the discretion to determine whether the arrestee is eligible for release on a citation. In most situations where a person is arrested on simple assault and does not have any other pending criminal cases, that person is eligible to be released on a citation, meaning that they are released directly from the police station with a notice to appear before their initial court appearance, which is referred to as an arraignment. However, in some DC assault cases, depending on the specific facts of the case it is possible an individual could be held in custody for longer.

Posting Bond in DC

DC does not have bail or bond, meaning a person would never be required to put up any sum of money in exchange for being released and told to come back to court. Occasionally, this is an automatic process in which the police simply release the person and give them a citation result when they have to come back in their initial report. In some situations, a person may not be eligible for the release on citation and those situations usually consist of DC assault arrests that resulted from arrest warrants as opposed to an arrest by a police officer at the scene of the event.

Another situation where a person may not be eligible for release on a citation is where the person being arrested has another criminal case pending either in DC or in another jurisdiction. In those situations, the police would typically transfer the arrestees or records from the police station to the courthouse where they would be held until they can appear before a magistrate judge at the next available date, which is typically the following day. In those situations, when they appear in front of judge, that judge would be able to determine whether the arrestee is eligible for release on personal recognizance or would be subject to any other conditions of release.

Felony Arrests

Those are fairly limited circumstances in which a person arrested on a simple assault would not be eligible for release on a citation after their assault arrest in DC. In felony assault cases, however, meaning assault with a dangerous weapon, assault with significant bodily injury, or aggravated assault, arrests are not eligible for release on a citation.

People arrested on those felony assault charges in DC would be transferred from the police station after arrest to the central cell block, which is where people arrested at various police stations around the city are collected so that they can be transferred directly from central cell block to the courthouse for their initial court appearances with the magistrate judge. Their case would be heard by the judge to determine if they are eligible for release and for initial probable cause.

During this process, there is no requirement that an arrestee would be permitted to contact an attorney. The person does not have a constitutional right to be granted a phone call. In many circumstances, the person who has been arrested and is not eligible for release on citation would be granted a phone call, so that they could call a family member or make arrangements to have a friend, family member, or other acquaintance seek representation to be present at the arrestee’s initial court appearance.