Navigating D.C. Superior Court

by Jamison Koehler on March 27, 2021
Jefferson Memorial

Although navigating D.C. Superior Court is still a challenge, some things have gotten easier as a result of the pandemic.  For example, you can now access many documents online that used to require an in-person visit. 

Hopefully D.C. Superior Court, the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) and other entities involved with the criminal justice system in Washington, D.C. will keep these new and improved practices post-pandemic.   

How do I file a motion?
How do I obtain a copy of my police report ?
What is my next court date?
How do I obtain a copy of my criminal history?
How do I obtain certified copies of other court documents?
Can I find out information about a TPO or CPO?
How can I request a TPO or CPO?
Can I find out if a person is in police custody in D.C.?
How do I find out if a person is in jail?
How can I obtain juvenile records?
Can I make a payment to the VVC Fund?
How do I apply for the VVC Fund?
Can I attend a remote hearing?
How do I sign up for court-ordered community service?

How do I file a motion?

Parties in criminal cases who are represented by a lawyer must file motions electronically through Case File Express. In order to do that, the lawyer must set up his/her own account.  Assistance in filing motions for people who are representing themselves can be found here.

How do I obtain my police report in Washington, D.C.?  

For copies of a public incident or accident report, you can email mpd.public-docs@dc.gov.  The most important information to include is the criminal complaint number (CCN).  You can find the CCN on the citation to return to court or letter from the hit-and-run investigation unit.  It is also a good idea to include your full name, date of birth, and date and place of incident or accident. 

How do I find out my next court date?

Information on upcoming court dates can be accessed electrically through Courtview.  The public docket also contains information on criminal charges, the defendant’s lawyer, court dates and disposition from both current and past cases.  In most cases you should be able to access any documents that have been filed in connection with the case, including the formal complaint, the Gerstein/arrest warrant, and any motions.  

How do I obtain a copy of my criminal history in D.C.?

Before the pandemic, you could pick up the report in person.  The best today may be to request the report by mail.  With full instructions here, this requires you to write a notarized letter to the following address requesting a background check:

Metropolitan Police Department
Criminal History Section
300 Indiana Avenue, NW, Room 1075
Washington, DC 20001

The letter must include your full name, date of birth, social security number, a self-addressed stamped envelop, and a $7 money order written out to the D.C. Treasurer.  You should indicate whether you are requesting the letter to determine if you are eligible for sealing your criminal record (“Option A”) or if you need it for a different purpose (“Option B”).  

How do I obtain certified copies of other court documents in connection with my criminal case?

Certified copies of court dockets associated with a case can be obtained by emailing emergencycertifiedcopies@dcsc.gov.  You should include the case number, your telephone number and the name of your business or organization.  You can also call 202-879-1400.  

How can I find out information about a temporary protection order (TPO) or civil protection order (CPO)?

Documents related to a civil protection order can be obtained by contacting the Domestic Violence Division Clerk’s Office by email (domesticviolencemanagement@dcsc.gov) or phone (202-879-0157).  

How can I request a temporary protection order (TPO) or civil protection order (CPO)?  

The easiest way to request a TPO or CPO is to fill out an on-line petition available here.  

How do I obtain copies of court documents associated with a case?  

You can obtain certified copies of documents (criminal complaints, dockets, disposition, etc.) by emailing criminalcustomerservice@dcsc.gov.   Please include your full name, date of birth, case number and (if possible) PDID number.  

How do I find out if a person is in police custody in D.C.?

The best way to find out if a person is in police custody in the District is to call the Central Cellbock at 202-727-4222 or 202-727-4223.

How do I find out if a person is in jail?

Vinelink provides a convenient way to determine if a person is incarcerated anywhere in the United States. You can find a person in federal custody at the Bureau of Prisons locator.  

How can I obtain juvenile records?

In order to obtain your juvenile record, please email the Clerk of the D.C. Superior Court at FamilyCourtCIC@dcsc.gov.  In some cases a court order may be required to obtain access.  

How can I make a payment to the Victims of Violent Crime Compensation Fund?

To make a payment by mail, make out the check or money order to “Clerk of DC Courts.”  Make sure you include the case number on the check or order, and mail the check or order to:

D.C. Superior Court
Criminal Finance Office
500 Indiana Avenue, NW, Suite 4003
Washington, DC 20001

To make a payment on-line, go to www.dccourts.gov, scroll down to “Search cases,” select the appropriate court and then “view cases.”  You can follow instructions from there.

How do I apply for the Crime Victims Compensation Program?

A new application for reimbursement under the Crime Victims Compensation Fund can be emailed to CVCPapplications@dcsc.gov or by submitting application online at https://www.dccourts.gov/services/crime-victims-compensation-matters/procedures

How can I attend a remote hearing?

Although many hearings are being held remotely during the pandemic, most of the hearings are still public.  You can participate by telephone or online.  More information is available here.

How do I sign up for court-ordered community service?

Email ccs@dcsc.gov or CriminalCommunityservices@dcsc.  You can also call 202-879-0123.

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