Pretrial Release | District of Columbia

` 3/13/2013

State legislatures consider and enact laws that address all aspects of pretrial policy, including citations, release eligibility, conditions of release, commercial bail bonding, victims’ rights and diversion. These legislative policies have an important role in providing fair, efficient and safe practices carried out by law enforcement and the courts.

Below is a synopsis of this state’s pretrial release laws as of March 2013 and any relevant legislative reports or audits. Recent enactments modifying these provisions can be found in NCSL’s pretrial enactments database.

Laws

Pretrial Release Eligibility

Pretrial release can be denied for 1st and 2nd degree murder, assault with intent to kill, any offense while on pretrial release for a felony or misdemeanor, a crime of violence or dangerous crime as enumerated in §23-1331, obstruction of justice, and illegal possession of a firearm as enumerated in § 23-1322(c)(7)&(8). (§23-1322)

Guidance for Setting Release Conditions

State statute provides a presumption of pretrial release on personal recognizance or unsecured appearance bond. Law requires the least restrictive conditions be imposed. (§23-1321(b) & (c))

Pretrial Release Conditions

Law allows release on personal recognizance or an unsecured appearance bond. Common conditions of release include: other secured bond, supervision and additional requirements. (§23-1321)

Pretrial Detention

Defendants charged with 1st and 2nd degree murder, assault with intent to kill, a crime of violence or dangerous crime as enumerated in §23-1331, obstruction of justice or illegal possession of a firearm as enumerated in § 23-1322(c)(7) & (8) require a hearing to deny pretrial release. State law specifies time frames for when the hearing must be held, addresses detainment of the defendant pending the outcome of the hearing and enumerates rights of the defendant. When a defendant is unable to meet the pretrial release conditions, a judicial review is required after 24 hours in custody. (§23-1322; §23-1321)

Victims’ Rights and Protections

Victims have the right to notification of pretrial release. Pretrial release hearings are required for violent crimes if the defendant is believed to be addicted to narcotic drugs. Defendants charged with these offenses can be detained up to three days after arrest.  (§23-1902(c)(2); §23-1323(a); §23-1322(b); §23-1323(a); §23-1322(b))

Resources

Full text of statutes can be retrieved using NCSL’s State Legislatures Internet Links database or learn more about NCSL’s Criminal Justice Program.