DC Criminal Charges: Frequently Asked Questions

Being accused of any type of criminal offense in Washington, DC can be a confusing and scary prospect. Luckily, however, a Washington DC criminal defense attorney is available to help alleviate the pressure of these charges as much as possible by advocating on your behalf and keeping you informed of what is taking place at every step of the criminal process.

Below, an experienced criminal attorney discusses some of the effects of criminal charges including how ones immigration or security clearance status will be affected, and how a charge in DC can impact someone who lives in another state. To learn these answers and more call today and schedule a free consultation. No matter whether you are facing a serious felony or something as simple as a traffic ticket, a legal representative is available for you.

What Should You Do If You Are Charged With A Crime While Visiting DC But You Live In Another State?

DC is a city that has a lot of visitors from not only other states but very often from other countries. It’s a popular tourist destination, and is a popular destination for young people to visit.

As a result, we frequently have clients who do not live in DC but have gotten arrested while visiting. It’s important to remember that even if you do not live in DC you still have an obligation to show up for your court hearings.  Having an experienced lawyer in Washington can minimize the inconvenience to you of having a charge in a state where you do not live. But it’s important to remember that even if you don’t live in DC, not showing up to a court hearing can result in a bench warrant being issued for your arrest.

If you are outside of the country and attempt to come back to the US then you can be arrested on the plane and extradited to Washington DC, which can be a very lengthy process.  So if you are a visitor to DC and you get arrested consult with a lawyer who has experience with DC cases who can help you through that process.

Can A Criminal Charge Or Conviction Affect Your Immigration Status?

If you are convicted for certain crimes then it can result in denial of naturalization, deportation, delay in your application for citizenship and it could result in you being denied re-entry if you leave the country while your case is pending or after you’ve been convicted.  It’s important to have a criminal defense attorney who also has the ability to be able to provide you with information about the immigration consequences of your case and understands the your particular immigration situation.

How Can a Criminal Charge Or Conviction Affect Your Security Clearance?

There are many people in DC who have security clearances either because they work for the government or because they are a contractor with the government. Depending on your clearance level a criminal charge or a criminal conviction could result in your security clearance being revoked.  If you already have a security clearance, then the most important factor becomes whether or not you have an obligation to report a pending criminal case to your job.

Sometimes failing to follow through on reporting requirements can actually be worse than being convicted of a crime, so if you’ve been arrest the first thing you should do is check to see if you have an obligation to report a pending arrest.  Do not wait until you’ve been convicted of a crime and do not wait to see how your case turns out to decide whether or not you should report.  Find out what you have to do right away and discuss with your lawyer how the case can affect your security clearance.

How Can A Client Having A Security Clearance Change The Way You Approach A Case?

Sometimes when a person has a criminal charge there can be very favorable ways to resolve a case that can result in charges being reduced, penalties being reduced, sometimes charges being dismissed completely.

But those favorable options can still have an impact on a person’s security clearance.  Certain options that may have been favorable to a person without the security clearance might not be favorable to a person with the security clearance. This is taken into account and should be discussed in addition to possible security clearance ramifications to different courses of action in the criminal case.

What Are The Most Common Questions From Potential Clients?

The most common question potential clients have is what their worst case scenario is and what an attorney can do for them. As a criminal defense lawyer it is important to be honest with the client and let them know what their real realistic worst case scenario is in addition to giving them an accurate impression of the kind of advocate that I can be for their case.