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Washington, DC Criminal

Washington, DC Criminal Defense Lawyer

David Benowitz is an experienced attorney with a successful track record of fighting for his clients. As a criminal defense lawyer in Washington, DC, Mr. Benowitz is committed to providing the highest level service at affordable prices. Mr. Benowitz is AV-rated by Martindale-Hubbell, has earned a perfect 10 rating by AVVO, and is a member of the National College of DUI Defense. He is also the only Washington, DC-based criminal defense attorney who has been board-certified as a criminal advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. Mr. Benowitz is also a faculty member at Harvard Law School’s Trial Advocacy Workshop.

If you are contacted by any law enforcement agency, do not make any statements, even those denying involvement, as they will most likely be used to build a case against you later. Politely decline to comment, and then contact a DC criminal defense attorney immediately. The sooner an experienced lawyer begins an investigation, the better your chance of defeating the government’s case.

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Our Practice Areas

There are many different charges, and many different penalties, that may apply to your case. Therefore, you should schedule a free initial consultation with a DC criminal lawyer to discuss the full parameters of your case as soon as possible.

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An Award Winning Team
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David Benowitz Recognizing Public Servants Scholarship!

David Benowitz is proud to announce the Recognizing Public Servants Scholarship. In order to encourage his passion for public service in others, Benowitz is offering $1,000 to one student who can best discuss the importance of public servants. If you would like to apply, please visit our scholarship page.

Federal Charges

While many criminal charges are brought in DC Superior Court, some allegations are charged in federal district court. These offenses are prosecuted by the United States government and, as a result, have the full force of a number of federal law enforcement agencies supporting the prosecution. Agencies conducting investigations, undercover operations, and sting operations include:

  • Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
  • Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA)
  • Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATF)
  • Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
  • Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
  • Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
  • United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)

If you believe you are being investigated for a federal offense or if you have been charged with a federal crime, getting legal counsel from an experienced and knowledgeable Washington, DC criminal defense attorney should be a priority so that your rights are protected.

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Assault Charges

There are three types of assault that you can be charged within the District of Columbia: simple assault, assault with significant bodily injury, and aggravated assault. It is important to note that someone can face assault allegations and charges even if there was never any contact between them and the complainant, known as battery. Assault can be charged when there is the threat of force, causing someone to reasonably fear that harm is imminent.

Simple assault has two different definitions and can be prosecuted in two ways: 1) as the use of force or violence to injure or attempt to injure someone; or 2) as a threatening act that reasonably would create fear in another person, committed with the intent to cause injury or create fear, with the apparent ability to injure. Assault with significant bodily injury is charged when the injuries to the complainant require hospitalization or immediate medical attention. Aggravated assault is the most serious of assault charges. Assault is considered “aggravated” if it causes a substantial risk of death, obvious disfigurement, extreme physical pain, or unconsciousness.

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Drug Charges

It is illegal to knowingly or intentionally possess a controlled substance in the District of Columbia. The only exception is if a licensed physician, operating within the realm of their professional practice, prescribed the substance to you. Simple possession of a controlled substance carries a potential jail sentence of 180 days, a fine of $1,000, or both.

The potential penalties increase dramatically if you are charged with distributing or possessing with intent to distribute a controlled substance. A conviction on either charge carries a potential maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and/or a fine of $75,000.

The District of Columbia’s laws regarding drugs can be complex. Reach out to a skilled drug attorney for more information about these laws and how an experienced criminal defense lawyer in DC could help investigate your situation and build a defense.

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DUI and DWI

Driving Under the Influence (DUI) and Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) in Washington, DC are serious offenses. Those convicted could have their license taken away, face large penalties, and potentially serve jail time.

In DC, there are potential traffic-alcohol charges: DUI, DWI, and OWI. You may be charged with a DWI if you are alleged to have a blood alcohol content (“BAC”) of .08 or over .08. DWI is a per se offense in DC that is automatically triggered when a driver’s BAC test results come back at 0.08 or above.

You can be charged with a DUI in the District of Columbia if you are alleged to be operating a motor vehicle with any BAC; there is no requirement that it be above .08.

However, you can also be charged and penalized under DC law if you are driving while somehow impaired at a level that does not meet the standard for DWI. Operating While Impaired (OWI) is considered a less serious criminal offense, as it carries up to 90 days in jail and/or a $500 fine for a first offense.

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What Our Clients Say About Us
David Benowitz and his firm are the best strategic and compassionate teams you will work with. Mr. Benowitz and his team are diligent and proactive, which is further enhanced by David's methodic and strategic approach to law. My case was a very complicated and emotionally charged case involving classified information,...

- Isaac Gibbons

I found David to be very dedicated to fighting for your loved one's rights. I also highly appreciated the fact that David kept us informed and empowered throughout the whole process.

- Carla Sims-Cardwell

Mr. Benowitz is an incredibly knowledgeable and dedicated professional. His commitments to social justice and community outreach are exemplary. I wholeheartedly recommend him for any matter.

- Winfield Glascock

Finding The Best DC Criminal Lawyer

All too often, we are asked who the best DC criminal lawyer might be. In reality, this label doesn’t help because there is no way to apply it to any one attorney.

There is no best DC criminal lawyer. There are many excellent and qualified attorneys across the District, but in truth, there is no one lawyer who is best-suited to every single case. The practice of law is a complicated endeavor, and even within the practice area of criminal law, there are major differences in criminal defense in different local jurisdictions and between different kinds of cases. For instance, DUI cases and white-collar cases involve very different areas of criminal law, types of evidence, and defense strategies.

When someone says they are looking for the best DC criminal defense attorney, we inform them that they should instead be looking for a lawyer who they believe is right to represent them in a case. When looking for a lawyer for your case, you should look for an attorney who has experience practicing criminal law, and it can be very helpful for an attorney to have experience handling cases involving the charges you are facing. Furthermore, it can also be very important to find an attorney who has local experience practicing in the courts where you are facing your charges.

Every case is unique, both in the fact-specific circumstances of the charges and in how the law may apply to the case. Although prior results do not guarantee or predict similar or favorable outcomes in the future, it can be an asset to have an attorney who is knowledgeable about the charges you or a loved may be facing.

The most important aspect about selecting an attorney for your case is whether, after to speaking to or consulting with a lawyer, you feel that you have found the right advocate to represent you. Rather than trying to look for the best DC defense attorney, look for the lawyer who you believe is right for your case. This is an important decision, and you should have confidence in the attorney you choose to represent you.

Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney in Washington, DC Today

Facing an accusation that you committed a crime in Washington DC can be a frightening and intimidating experience. From an initial confrontation with a police officer, to an arrest, a booking in jail, to appearances in court, the entire process can be overwhelming.

In addition to the obvious stressors that you may feel, the potential criminal penalties for a conviction can forever change your life. A conviction for even a low-level misdemeanor offense will result in a criminal record, may require you to pay a fine, and might even result in a jail sentence. More serious felony convictions could result in a lengthy prison sentence and follow you for the rest of your life. For help building a powerful defense against the charges you face, consider contacting a DC criminal lawyer.

2019 Reindeer Romp 5K & 10K

Join us for the 2019 Reindeer Romp 5K & 10K at Fletcher’s Boathouse on December 21st. The race benefits Operation Enduring Warrior, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting America’s wounded military and public service veterans. To learn more, visit our Reindeer Romp 5K & 10K page.

Free Case Evaluation

If you are facing a criminal charge or believe that you are the target of a criminal investigation in Washington, DC, your freedom is at stake. David Benowitz and his team of DC criminal defense attorneys are ready to help you. Call to schedule your free consultation.