Code of the District of Columbia

§ 23–584. Field arrest and release on citation.

(a) In lieu of taking a person into custody, a law enforcement officer may issue a field arrest form to a person whom he or she has arrested without a warrant if the person:

(1) Is eligible for release on citation pursuant to subsection (b)(2) of this section; and

(2) Is charged with committing a misdemeanor prosecuted by the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia and designated by the Chief of Police as being eligible for a field arrest.

(b)(1) A releasing official shall determine whether a person taken into custody or appearing at a law enforcement agency following the issuance of a field arrest form is eligible:

(A) For release on citation pursuant to paragraph (2) of this subsection; and

(B) To use the post-and-forfeit procedure pursuant to § 5-335.01.

(2) A releasing official may authorize a release on citation to a person arrested without a warrant unless:

(A) There is reason to believe that the person may cause injury to him or herself or any other person, may cause damage to property, or will not appear in court to answer the charge; or

(B) The person is:

(i) Charged with a dangerous crime, as defined in § 23-1331(3), or a crime of violence, as defined in § 23-1331(4);

(ii) Subject to detention before trial pursuant to § 23-1322 or § 23-1325;

(iii) Charged with a felony offense;

(iv) Charged with a misdemeanor offense that is not designated as eligible for release on citation by the responsible prosecuting authority;

(v) Charged with an intrafamily offense, as that term is defined in [§ 16-1001(8)], where the victim is an intimate partner, as that term is defined in [§ 16-1001(6A)], or where the victim is a family member, as that term is defined in [§ 16-1001(5A)];

(vi) Charged with an intrafamily offense, as that term is defined in [§ 16-1001(8)], where:

(I) The victim is a household member, as that term is defined in [§ 16-1001(5B)]; and

(II) The criminal offense committed or threatened to be committed is violent;

(vii) Cannot reliably be identified or inaccurately reports information concerning his or her name or other identifying information;

(viii) At the time of arrest, in violation of a court order;

(ix) At the time of arrest, in violation of a condition of release on citation issued pursuant to subsection (d)(1) of this section; or

(x) Has not cooperated in the booking process.

(c) A releasing official may authorize a release on citation to a person who is not otherwise eligible for release under subsection (b)(2) of this section if the release is approved by the prosecutor and:

(1) The Chief Judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia has declared that an event or condition significantly impairs the functioning of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia;

(2) A person has been admitted to a hospital during the course of the arrest processing; or

(3) Court is not in session and there is reason to believe that the person should not be held in custody pending his or her first appearance before a judicial officer.

(d)(1) A releasing official of the rank of sergeant or above may, as a condition of a release on citation, direct a person to stay away from a particular place and to stay away from and have no contact with a victim of or witness to the cited offense until the person’s appearance before a judicial officer.

(2) A releasing official shall not release a person if the person refuses to agree to abide by one or more conditions of release on citation issued pursuant to paragraph (1) of this subsection.

(e) Nothing in this section shall be construed to create a private right of action or give rise to any rights enforceable by injunction, mandamus, or otherwise.


(Apr. 24, 2015, D.C. Law 20-243, § 2(a)(4), 61 DCR 8320; Apr. 27, 2021, D.C. Law 23-275, § 5, 68 DCR 001086.)