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Washington DC Bond Review and Hearing Lawyer

Compared to many other states, the rules and regulations governing detention release between an arrest and a trial are particularly complex in Washington DC. Without guidance from a law firm experienced in the bond review process, you could have a difficult time acquiring the conditions you need to continue your day-to-day life and prepare your defense before your court date.

The burden of interpreting the DC Code and determining how it impacts your case does not have to be yours to bear alone. Consider reaching out to a Washington DC bond review and hearing lawyer to learn what can be done to secure more favorable terms.

DC Statutes Pertaining to Release Conditions and Bail

With the exception of first- and second-degree murder and armed assault with intent to kill, D.C. Code §23-1321 requires that a judicial officer order one of the following outcomes for an arrested person upon their first appearance in court:

  • Release on personal recognizance or unsecured bond
  • Released with certain conditions applied, such as weekly check-ins, urine screenings, curfew, or GPS monitoring
  • Temporary detention pending a detention hearing

Per D.C. Code §23-1322, if the judge at the initial hearing finds probable cause to believe the defendant committed a dangerous or violent crime, the judge must detain the defendant for no more than 3 days pending a preliminary hearing to determine whether further detention is necessary.  If the judge finds probable cause that the defendant committed any offense while on pretrial release, probation, or supervised release in another case, the judge may order detention pending a preliminary hearing no more than 5 days later if the judge believes the defendant is a risk of flight or a danger to the community.

The Preliminary Hearing

A person ordered detained at their initial appearance is entitled to a preliminary hearing within a reasonable amount of time.  At the preliminary hearing, the government must present testimony to show probable cause that the defendant committed a crime.  This hearing follows very different rules and procedures from a full trial, including the types of testimony considered admissible (such as hearsay) and what evidence must be disclosed to the defense before the hearing (not much).

If the judge finds probable cause that the defendant did any of the following, the judge will presume the defendant is a danger to the community and order detention pending trial:

  • Committed a dangerous or violent crime while armed
  • Committed a dangerous or violent crime and has previously been convicted of committing a dangerous or violent crime while on release in another case
  • Threatened law enforcement, potential witnesses, or members of the court
  • Committed two or more distinct but related violent offenses
  • Injured someone while robbing them
  • Committed one of several gun possession offenses

However, this presumption is rebuttable with assistance from a skilled DC bond review lawyer.

Time Limits to Detainment and COVID-19

If someone is detained following this pre-trial hearing, the D.C. Code §23-1322 guarantees them a right to be indicted within 90 days as well as have a trial within 100 days of their hearing. Furthermore, certain conditions—like the COVID-19 pandemic and the court closures it has prompted—may allow for detention terms and denials to be reconsidered to some degree. If these circumstances apply, a qualified legal advisor could help a defendant with their bond reconsideration or initial bond review hearings.

Seek Assistance from a Washington DC Bond Review and Hearing Attorney

Hearings before judicial officers to make decisions about future hearings and set bond conditions usually happen very quickly after an arrest, so it could be important to seek legal counsel sooner rather than later if you find yourself facing charges. Without quality representation from the moment you step in front of a judicial officer, you could end up with unfavorable bond terms that make your case harder to manage effectively.

Before starting to plan any aspect of your criminal defense, it is wise to talk to a Washington DC bond review and hearing lawyer to help you pursue the best bond terms possible for your situation. Call today to learn how a seasoned attorney from a bond review law firm could help you with your case.

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