Washington DC Criminal Offenses & Sentencing
When you are facing criminal charges, the number one question on your mind is “What could happen to me?” Knowing the court process in Washington DC, the risks, and potential outcomes that may result can help you take control of your legal problem.
With so many different possible outcomes, it is difficult to predict how any case will end ahead of time. But an experienced DC criminal defense attorney can help you understand what the most likely results are when fighting a criminal charge. Contact us for a free case evaluation.
Criminal Charges & Penalties in Washington DC
All criminal offenses in the District of Columbia have a range of penalties for the judge to sentence.
For instance, a crime like aggravated assault carries a potential sentence of up to 10 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. It is the job of the judge, using the presentence report and information from your attorney to determine where within this range you are sentenced.
As a criminal defense lawyer who knows the DC courts, I can give you a much more accurate guess of what you are likely to be facing if found guilty of a criminal charge. In most cases, the high end of the penalty range is only used in very serious circumstances.
And obviously, some criminal offenses carry much harsher penalties than others. Below are a few of the more common criminal charges we see.
|1st Degree Theft||Up to 10 years in
prison and $5,000 in fines
|2nd Degree Theft||Up to 180 days in jail
and $1,000 in fines
|Up to 180 days in jail
and $1,000 in fines
Property defacement, including graffiti
|UP to 180 days in jail
and fines of $250-$1,000
|Up to 90 days in jail
and $250 in fines
Threats to do Bodily Harm
|Up to 6 months in jail
and $500 in fines
DUI/DWI (1st offense)
|Up to 90 days in jail,
fines of $300-$1,000, and 6 month license
DUI/DWI (2nd offense)
|Up to 1 year in jail,
fines of $1,000-$5,000, and 1 year license
Possession of marijuana (1st
|Under 1 oz decriminalized|
|Sale of marijuana (1st offense)||Up to 1 year in prison
and $10,000 in fines
Of course, there are numerous other criminal offenses and recommended sentences to go with them. As your criminal history and the severity of your crime increase, so does the potential sentence you will face.
More on Washington DC Criminal Charges
The vast majority of cases in DC and across the country end in plea agreements. Plea agreements are essentially bargains between you (the defendant) and the District of Columbia (the prosecution). A plea agreement is designed to reach a favorable outcome for both parties without having to go to trial.
Plea bargains can happen at any stage of the criminal justice process and may include any of the following benefits:
- A reduction in the original charge against you
- The promise of a recommended lenient sentence
- The opportunity to serve probation where active jail time is more likely
In most cases, in exchange for these things, the prosecution will ask you to admit guilt to all or part of the charges against you.
Pre Trial Diversion/Deferred Prosecution
Concepts like pre-trial diversion and deferred prosecution are those that attempt to resolve a criminal case before it reaches trial. These types of programs are reserved for people who are charged with their 1st criminal offense or otherwise seem to be a good risk for the courts.
In cases of deferred prosecution, the defendant is referred to a period of probation supervision. If he or she successfully completes this period, the charges are dropped. Your eligibility for options like this are based on your charges and your criminal history.
Contact me today to see if you might qualify for deferred prosecution or another form of diversion.
Sentencing After Trial
Very few cases make it all the way to resolution after trial. However, it does happen. If your case went to trial and you were found guilty of some or all of the charges against you, you face a typical sentencing process.
Judges take many things into consideration when determining your sentence. While it seems like they are only out to punish, some are more focused on rehabilitation and community penalties than others.
One tool used when determining your sentence is the presentence report. This document is prepared through an investigation by an officer of the court. It details many points of interest that a judge will use to properly sentence you. Your presentence report may include:
- Criminal history
- Social history
- Employment status
- Residential status
- Mental health history/summary
- Drug/Alcohol concerns
- Family support details
- Any other risk factors or concerns
When facing any type of criminal charge in D.C., you need a local attorney who knows how the District’s courts and courtroom players work. Having represented many clients in the D.C. Superior and Community Courts, I know what you are facing and am confident that I can help.
From building a rock solid defense to ensuring the court hears your side of things at sentencing time, I can be your advocate in a system that feels like it’s out to get you.
Contact me today to discuss your case.
Call Our Attorneys a Free Consultation on any Washington DC Criminal Offense
Call us at (888) 452-4344 for a no obligation, criminal defense consultation.