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Washington D.C. Arrest Records

District of Columbia arrest records are legal documents that detail the arrests of individuals by law enforcement. Arrest records are vital because they provide a detailed account of an individual's interactions with law enforcement. While arrest records may not be used as an alternative to Washington criminal records, they can reveal patterns of criminal behavior, which can help law enforcement solve crimes and prevent future ones from occurring. Additionally, arrest records can be used in civil lawsuits and other legal proceedings to prove that an individual has a history of criminal activity.

In Washington DC, the Freedom of Information Act governs the dissemination of these records. Per this law, Washington DC law enforcement agencies are required to make their arrest records available to the public upon request. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, juvenile arrest records are typically sealed and not open to the public.

District of Columbia Arrest Statistics

While the FBI UCR has limited information on arrest statistics in the District of Columbia, the statistics reported by the state's law enforcement agencies suggest that between 2007 to 2016, the District of Columbia saw a dramatic increase in the overall number of arrests made each year.

In 2007, there were 17,532 arrests made by law enforcement in the District. This number rose to 24,023 in 2016, with nearly 7,000 arrests. Most of these arrests were for non-violent offenses, such as drug possession and public intoxication. However, the number of violent crimes reported each year has also been on the rise in recent years. In 2016, there were 1,569 reported violent crimes - an increase of nearly 400 from the previous year.

Notwithstanding, it is worth noting that the District of Columbia has just over 700,000 people. This means that the overall crime rate is still relatively low compared to other major cities in the United States.

What is an Arrest Record in the District of Columbia?

An arrest record in the District of Columbia is a public document that includes information about an individual's arrests and detentions. In the District of Columbia, arrest records are typically maintained by the Metropolitan Police Department and the District of Columbia Courts.

What is Contained in an Arrest Record in the District of Columbia?

An arrest record in the District of Columbia can contain a lot of information about an individual. This includes the person's name, date of birth, address, and other identifying information. Additionally, an arrest record may contain information about the offense that led to the arrest and any subsequent convictions.

Are Arrest Records Public in the District of Columbia?

Yes, arrest records are public in the District of Columbia. The relevant statutes are the Freedom of Information Act and the Criminal Justice Information System Act. These statutes provide for the release of arrest records to the public upon request.

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is a federal law that provides for the disclosure of government records to the public. The FOIA applies to all federal agencies, including the District of Columbia government. Under the FOIA, any person has a right to request access to government records. There are some exceptions to this general rule, but generally speaking, if a record is not exempt from disclosure, the government must provide it to the requester.

The Criminal Justice Information System Act (CJISA) is a District of Columbia law that governs the release of criminal justice information. The CJISA authorizes the release of arrest records to the public upon request. While some conditions must be met in order for an arrest record to be released, if an arrest record is not exempt from disclosure, it can be obtained by the public.

Who Can Access Arrest Records in the District of Columbia?

In the District of Columbia, arrest records can be obtained by the following individuals/institutions:

  • Law enforcement agencies
  • The court system
  • Individuals who have been arrested
  • Certain employers

Arrest records in the District of Columbia are public records, meaning that they are available to anyone who requests them. However, there are some restrictions on who can access certain types of information. For example, only law enforcement agencies and the court system can access sealed or expunged records.

How Do I Lookup Someone's Arrest Records in the District of Columbia?

Interested members of the public may look up Washington DC arrest records in one of several ways:

They may visit the Metropolitan Police Department website and use the online offender search tool. To use the tool, the requestor will need to input the offender's first and last name and date of birth.

Arrest records may also be requested from the Metropolitan Police Department in person. The requestor will need to fill out a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request form, which is available on the Department's website.

Otherwise, they can go in person to the police department's Central Records Division located at:

300 Indiana Avenue,
NW, Room 3058
Washington, DC 20001

To conduct a records search by mail, include a self-addressed stamped envelope along with a written request that includes:

  • The name of the record-holder
  • The period for which the requestor would like records searched (arrests made within the last six months cannot be released)
  • The contact information of the requesting party (phone number and email address)
  • The request may then be mailed to the aforementioned address.

Official fees for searching and copying District of Columbia arrest records vary depending on the number of pages involved. For more information, please call (202) 727-4383.

Alternatively, arrest records may be obtained from the DC Superior Court. The requestor will need to visit the clerk's office and fill out a case search form. The form requires the case number, which can be obtained from the police department or online court docket.

How to Subpoena Arrest Records in the District of Columbia

It is sometimes necessary to subpoena arrest records in the District of Columbia to obtain essential information for a legal case.

The first step in subpoenaing Washington DC arrest records is to contact the clerk of the Superior Court in the District where the arrest occurred. The clerk will provide the requestor with the necessary forms and instructions for filing a subpoena.

Requestors must complete all of the forms correctly and include all of the required information.

Once the forms have been completed, they must be served to the agency that maintains the records they are seeking. This can be done by mailing them or delivering them in person. The agency then has a specific time to comply with the subpoena and provide the requested records. If the agency does not comply with the subpoena, the requestor can file a motion to compel the production of the records. This motion must be filed with the court that issued the subpoena. Once this is done, a hearing will be scheduled, and both sides will have an opportunity to present their arguments.

Following the hearing, the court will make a determination as to whether or not the records should be produced. If the court orders that the records be produced, the agency will have to comply with this order. If they do not, they may be subject to penalties imposed by the court.

How to Search for an Inmate in the Washington DC Prison System

Interested persons may look up inmates in the Washington DC prison system by visiting the Department of Corrections website and using the Inmate Lookup tool. They will need the inmate's full name, date of birth, and DCDC number to use this feature. They can also narrow the search by adding additional information such as gender, race, or release date. The search results will provide the inmate's full name, photo, DCDC number, and current location. If the inmate has been released, the release date will also be displayed.

Those who wish to visit an inmate in person must first fill out a visitor application form which can be found on the Department of Corrections website. The form must be submitted at least 72 hours in advance, and visitors must bring a valid photo ID with them when they come to the prison. Inmates are allowed two 30-minute visits per week. Visits are non-contact and take place in a glass booth.

Inmate lookups can also be conducted using third-party search websites, which may provide additional information such as the inmate's charges, bond information, and sentencing data. However, these apps are not affiliated with the Department of Corrections, and the accuracy of their information cannot be guaranteed.

How Do I Find Out if Someone Was in Jail in the District of Columbia

To find out if an individual was formerly incarcerated in the District of Columbia, the requesting party will need to contact the Department of Corrections directly. Requestors can reach the Department by phone at (202) 523-7060 or by email at docpublicinformation@dc.gov.

To request inmate information from the DOC, the requestor will be required to provide the following information:

  • The name of the individual being inquired about
  • The individual's date of birth
  • The case number, if known

There is no fee for this service. However, please note that the DOC may require a valid photo ID for verification purposes.

How Long Do Washington DC Arrest Records Stay on File?

The length of time that an arrest record will stay on file in Washington DC can vary depending on the circumstances of the case. However, most arrest records will remain on file for at least seven years. This is true even if the charges against the individual are later dropped, or they are found not guilty in court. Some types of cases, such as those involving violent crimes or sex offenses, may stay on file for even more extended periods.

What is the Difference Between an Arrest Record and an Arrest Warrant?

An arrest record is a public record that includes information about someone who has been arrested, convicted, or sentenced for a crime. On the other hand, an arrest warrant is a court order that authorizes law enforcement to make an arrest.

An arrest record will contain more information than an arrest warrant in most cases. Typically arrest records include the suspect's name, date of birth, physical description, booking photo, charges, and bail information. An arrest warrant will typically only include the suspect's name and the charges against them.

It's important to note that having an arrest record does not necessarily mean that someone is guilty of a crime. Likewise, having an arrest warrant does not mean that the individual will be convicted.

What is the Difference Between an Arrest Record and a Criminal Record?

An arrest record is a formal document that details an individual's arrests. This record is created by law enforcement agencies when an individual is arrested and includes information such as the individual's name, date of birth, booking photo, charges, and the arresting agency.

A criminal record is a formal document detailing an individual's criminal history. This record is created by courts and includes information such as convictions, sentences, and probationary periods.

An arrest record does not necessarily mean that an individual has been convicted of a crime; it simply means that they have been arrested for one. On the other hand, a criminal record reflects convictions and can be used to show an individual's criminal history.

How to Obtain Arrest Records for Free in Washington DC?

Interested persons can obtain Washington DC arrest records at no cost by submitting a completed Request for Arrest Record form to the Metropolitan Police Department's (MPD) Central Records Division. The form is available on the MPD website. However, persons requiring record copies might be required to pay a fee to cover the cost of making copies and mailing them.

Washington DC arrest records are also available from the Office of the Clerk of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. The office is located at:

500 Indiana Avenue,
NW, Washington, DC 20001
(202) 879-1133

Persons requesting arrest records must complete a Records Request Form, which is available on the website of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, and submit it to the office in person, by mail, or by fax. There is no fee for searching for arrest records, especially if the documents are public information and accessed using the court's self-help computers.

However, persons requesting certified copies of arrest records will be required to pay a $10 per record fee.

How to Search for a Washington DC Arrest Record Online Using a Third-Party Search Service

Third-party search services are a great way to remotely find Washington DC arrest records. Here's how they can be used:

  1. First, the requestor will need to find a reputable third-party search service. There are many to choose from; users are advised to do their research before selecting one.
  2. After finding the service, the requestor will need to create an account and provide some basic information about themselves.
  3. Once logged in, the requestor will be able to search for records using the service's database. They will be required to enter as much information as possible (about the record) into the search form to narrow down the results.
  4. After finding the record of interest, they may view it online or opt to make copies.

What Can I Do if My Arrest Records Has a Mistake in Washington DC?

If a Washington DC record holder finds that their arrest record has a mistake, they may take steps to correct the error. First, they can contact the law enforcement agency that submitted the inaccurate information to the criminal justice information system. The requestor will be required to provide the law enforcement agency with documentation that proves the inaccuracy of the information. The law enforcement agency will then update the information in the system. If the record holder is still not satisfied with the results, they can file a petition with the court to have the records sealed or expunged.

How to Expunge Arrest Records in Washington DC

Interested persons may request an arrest record expungement in Washington DC if they meet the requirements. The first step is to file a motion with the court, which will then review the request and make a determination.

To be eligible for an arrest record expungement in Washington DC, the requesting party must:

  • Have completed all terms of their sentence, including any probation or parole
  • Wait at least one year after their sentence is completed before requesting an expungement
  • Not have been convicted of any other crime during that period

To petition the court for expungement, the requestor must complete and submit a motion and any supporting documentation proving their eligibility. The court will review the request and decide based on the circumstances. If granted, the arrest record will be expunged and sealed from public view.