DC Gun Offense Pre-Trial Release: Flight Risk

DC has some of the strictest gun laws in the country. Historically, violence was a problem in this city along with the presence of guns. Violent crime exists in the city in numbers that police and prosecutors would like to reduce significantly. This includes heavily prosecuting cases and being weary of any potential dangerous pre-trial release factors of a gun offense, such as being a danger to the public or being a flight risk.

A flight risk is a person who is at risk of not returning to court or is supposed to be monitored by pretrial services but does not comply with monitoring. Serious offenses with mandatory prison if a person is convicted can be a factor for a judge to decide whether the person might flee. A DC gun attorney can help you convince a judge that you are not a flight risk.

Individuals Deemed a Flight Risk

A person visiting DC or the United States briefly from another country can be considered a flight risk when analyzing factors of a DC gun offense pre-trial release. A defendant in a federal case can be ordered to surrender their passport to the court, the probation department or pretrial services to make sure they are unable to leave the country.

A person facing mandatory prison time can be deemed more of a flight risk than someone associated with other crimes. For example, someone charged with unlawful possession of a firearm with a prior felony on their record faces mandatory prison time. The statute is clear. A judge does not have the authority to give any probation instead of that prison time.

Mandatory prison time without probation can be a factor that causes the defendant to want to leave and be a fugitive, to not want to participate in the criminal justice system. The judge considers that when deciding whether to release the person and the kind of release conditions to put on them.

Severity of Gun Offenses

There is a prevailing mood that guns should not be on the streets and that they should be regulated as strongly as possible. There are continuous challenges in the courts regarding DC’s gun laws because the laws are drafted as harshly as possible, enforced stringently, and are prosecuted rigorously. There is a real issue about people who have firearms in their possession outside of DC who come into DC. That conduct is against the law and is a serious crime that is seriously prosecuted in the District.

Guns are taken so seriously, that authorities arrest the person and hold them in custody until they see a judge. The prosecution may trigger provisions in the criminal code of DC that requires the judge to continue to hold the person pending their next court date. Whenever a gun is involved, the authorities put every resource available into the investigation and take heady considerations regarding factors of pre-trial releases with gun offenses.

Working with an Attorney

Whenever a judge considers DC gun offense pre-trial release conditions regarding flight risks, the defense attorney must emphasize the positive and manage the negative. The attorney should focus on the reasons the person will return to court. The person is tied to the community and has  family and work responsibilities, as well as their career. These factors can be used to show why the person is not going to flee. They can be essential help in convincing the judge of their character.