Pre-trial Release in DC Burglary Cases

The District of Columbia does not have bail and does not set bond in cases, since the Bail Reform Act eliminated bond. In DC burglary cases, the defendant will be brought before the court. If the government asks for a mandatory hold in certain types of cases, such as burglary, the court will have to grant it. The defendant will be held for three additional days in custody pending their preliminary hearing, where their release conditions can be addressed.

Even if a person is released pretrial in a burglary case, a DC burglary lawyer can help a person navigate their case and assist them in preparing for trial, all the while working to build a robust defense.

Release Conditions in DC

If the government does not ask for a hold, meaning they are not asking that the defendant continue to be held in custody, then the judge sets the release conditions. The lowest level of conditions would be release on your personal recognizance, also known as Release on Recognizance, meaning the defendant is supposed to come back to court when the court directs them to, at the lowest level. Release conditions include checking in weekly to pretrial services in person or by phone, and weekly drug testing if you test positive for drugs after the initial test. More likely conditions would also include either high-intensity supervision where a person has a GPS monitor on their ankle, a curfew, or even house arrest, where they are not allowed to leave the home except in very limited circumstances.

Finally, the government can send the defendant to a halfway house, which is not jail in the sense of being behind bars, but it is confinement to a location that is not their own home; it is staffed and supervised. The judge will determine of these various options, which is the proper release condition to set in a case.

If Not Released

If a person is not released, then they will be held in custody during the pendency of their case. They have the right to a speedy trial, and when they are in custody, that means they have the right to have the trial occur within 100 days of when they are taken into custody. The government must obtain an indictment within 90 days, and if they are unable to do so the individual will be released, which gives them an additional six months.

Again, if a person is held in custody, it speeds up the whole process, because there is an outside date of 100 days to begin trial for someone who has been held in custody during the pendency of their case.

What This Means for an Attorney

An attorney is going to proceed with their defense, their investigation, and their litigation, as they would otherwise. It does make it more difficult in the sense of not being able to meet with their client, the defendant, as easily or often as they would like.

Reviewing evidence and discussing the case with the client can be more difficult, but it can still be done. This is not to say that when someone is in custody they can expect to get lesser representation. An experienced lawyer will work around the complications that arise from having a detained client. Any defendant who is held in custody is going to need to rely on their attorney a bit more to work with their family or friends on certain items, including locating certain witnesses, making sure documents are properly completed, and making sure that everything is followed up on properly, because it cannot be done from the confines of the DC jail.

In that regard, if a person is in custody, their attorney will probably be more in contact with their family than they otherwise would be, because the attorney have to rely on family for certain things that they otherwise might not have to, if the person was not in custody.