D.C. Superior Court

If you have been charged with a criminal offense in D.C., you are undoubtedly feeling frightened or confused. The purpose of this website is to answer many of the questions you may have.

Where do I go?

The main entrance of D.C. Superior Court is located at 500 Indiana Avenue, NW. You should allow yourself plenty of time to get through security. With most court hearings beginning at 9:30 or 10:00 am, it is particularly busy in the morning. Cell phones are permitted in the building although you are not allowed to take photographs.

What happens when I get there?

A criminal case in the District will typically involve at least three court hearings: arraignment, initial status hearing, and trial.

An arraignment is the hearing at which a criminal case is formally launched. The court advises the defendant of the charges and of his/her right to counsel. The government will also turn over “initial discovery.” This typically includes the police report and other documents that detail the allegations.

Arraignments for most criminal matters in D.C. are held in Room C-10 of the courthouse. [map] “Citation arraignments” begin at 10:00 am. Arraignments for people who have been detained pending the hearing begin at 1:00 pm.  Arraignments for traffic matters, including DUIs, are held in courtrooms 115, 116 or 120.

An initial status hearing is typically scheduled three or four weeks from the arraignment. This gives the defendant’s lawyer an opportunity to discuss the case with the assigned prosecutor from either the U.S. Attorney’s Office (for most criminal matters) or the Office of the Attorney General (for traffic and juveniles charges).   The parties will then decide either to schedule a trial date or to enter into some type of non-trial disposition for the third court date.   

Additional information on legal, administrative and procedural issues for D.C. is provided below.

Civil Protection Orders
Criminal Appeals
Criminal Charges/Security Clearance
D.C. Rules of Criminal Procedure
D.C. Rules of Evidence
Diversion Programs for First-Time Offenders
Expungement/Sealing of Criminal Records
How to Obtain a Copy of Your Police Report
How to Obtain a Copy of Your Criminal Record
Jury instructions