What Makes DC Criminal Laws Unique?

With the state-based systems that we have in the United States, every state has a different set of rules. Every state including DC, which is not a state, has a different set of laws, different penalties for different crimes, different court procedures, and different rules of evidence.

And so, when you’re looking for a lawyer, having a lawyer who understands specifically DC’s rules, laws, and procedures, is one of the most important things that you can look for.

Procedurally, DC criminal cases will often consist of more court hearings over a longer period of time compared to some other jurisdictions, even on misdemeanor cases.  The drawn-out process can actually serve as a constitutional safeguard for people accused of crimes because it grants defense attorneys an opportunity to fully discuss defense strategies with their clients.  This prevents defendants from feeling like they’re being rushed through the system.

DC is also in a unique position where the majority of crimes charged are prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office as opposed to a local District Attorney’s Office or State Attorney’s Office. That’s the result of DC’s position as a quasi-federal jurisdiction. The crimes are still DC crimes not federal crimes, but they’re prosecuted by the DC branch of the federal prosecutor’s office.