Code of the District of Columbia

Chapter 3. Competency of Witnesses.


§ 14–301. Parties and other interested persons generally.

Except as otherwise provided by law, a person is not incompetent to testify in a civil action or proceeding by reason of his being a party thereto or interested in the result thereof. If otherwise competent to testify, he is competent to give evidence on his own behalf and competent and compellable to give evidence on behalf of any other party to the action or proceeding.


(Dec. 23, 1963, 77 Stat. 518, Pub. L. 88-241, § 1.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 14-301.

1973 Ed., § 14-301.


§ 14–302. Testimony against deceased or incapable person.

(a) In a civil action against:

(1) a person who, from any cause, is legally incapable of testifying, or

(2) the committee, trustee, executor, administrator, heir, legatee, devisee, assignee, or other representative of a deceased person or of a person so incapable of testifying, a judgment or decree may not be rendered in favor of the plaintiff founded on the uncorroborated testimony of the plaintiff or of the agent, servant, or employee of the plaintiff as to any transaction with, or action, declaration or admission of, the deceased or incapable person.

(b) In an action specified by subsection (a) of this section, if the plaintiff or his agent, servant, or employee, testifies as to any transaction with, or action, declaration, or admission of, the deceased or incapable person, an entry, memorandum, or declaration, oral or written, by the deceased or incapable person, made while he was capable and upon his personal knowledge, may not be excluded as hearsay.


(Dec. 23, 1963, 77 Stat. 519, Pub. L. 88-241, § 1.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 14-302.

1973 Ed., § 14-302.


§ 14–303. Testimony of deceased or incapable person.

When a party, after having testified at a time while he was competent to do so, dies or becomes incapable of testifying, his testimony may be given in evidence in any trial or hearing in relation to the same subject-matter between the same parties or their legal representatives, as the case may be; and in such a case the opposite party may testify in opposition thereto.


(Dec. 23, 1963, 77 Stat. 519, Pub. L. 88-241, § 1.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 14-303.

1973 Ed., § 14-303.


§ 14–304. Death or incapacity of partner or other interested person.

Where any of the original parties to a contract or transaction which is the subject of investigation are partners or other joint contractors, or jointly entitled or liable, and some of them have died or become incapable of testifying, any others with whom the contract or transaction was personally made or had, or in whose presence or with whose privity it was made or had, or admissions in relation to the same were made, are not, nor is the adverse party, incompetent to testify because some of the parties or joint contractors, or those jointly entitled or liable, have died or become incapable of testifying.


(Dec. 23, 1963, 77 Stat. 519, Pub. L. 88-241, § 1.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 14-304.

1973 Ed., § 14-304.


§ 14–305. Competency of witnesses; impeachment by evidence of conviction of crime.

(a) No person is incompetent to testify, in either civil or criminal proceedings, by reason of his having been convicted of a criminal offense.

(b)(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), for the purpose of attacking the credibility of a witness, evidence that the witness has been convicted of a criminal offense shall be admitted if offered, either upon the cross-examination of the witness or by evidence aliunde, but only if the criminal offense (A) was punishable by death or imprisonment in excess of one year under the law under which he was convicted, or (B) involved dishonesty or false statement (regardless of punishment). A party establishing conviction by means of cross-examination shall not be bound by the witness’ answers as to matters relating to the conviction.

(2)(A) Evidence of a conviction of a witness is inadmissible under this section if —

(i) the conviction has been the subject of a pardon, annulment, or other equivalent procedure granted or issued on the basis of innocence, or

(ii) the conviction has been the subject of a certificate of rehabilitation or its equivalent and such witness has not been convicted of a subsequent criminal offense.

(B) In addition, no evidence of any conviction of a witness is admissible under this section if a period of more than ten years has elapsed since the later of (i) the date of the release of the witness from confinement imposed for his most recent conviction of any criminal offense, or (ii) the expiration of the period of his parole, probation, or sentence granted or imposed with respect to his most recent conviction of any criminal offense.

(c) For purposes of this section, to prove conviction of crime, it is not necessary to produce the whole record of the proceedings containing the conviction, but the certificate, under seal, of the clerk of the court wherein the proceedings were had, stating the fact of the conviction and for what cause, shall be sufficient.

(d) The pendency of an appeal from a conviction does not render evidence of that conviction inadmissible under this section. Evidence of the pendency of such an appeal is admissible.


(Dec. 23, 1963, 77 Stat. 519, Pub. L. 88-241, § 1; July 29, 1970, 84 Stat. 550, Pub. L. 91-358, title I, § 133(a).)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 14-305.

1973 Ed., § 14-305.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 24-906.


§ 14–306. Spouse or domestic partner.

(a) In civil and criminal proceedings, a spouse or domestic partner is competent but not compellable to testify for or against their spouse or domestic partner.

(b) In civil and criminal proceedings, a spouse or domestic partner is not competent to testify as to any confidential communications made by one to the other during the marriage or the domestic partnership.

(b-1) Notwithstanding subsections (a) and (b) of this section, a spouse or domestic partner is both competent and compellable to testify against his or her spouse or domestic partner as to both confidential communications made by one to the other during the marriage or domestic partnership and any other matter in:

(1) A criminal or delinquency proceeding where one spouse or domestic partner is charged with committing:

(A) Intimate partner violence as defined in § 16-1001(7) if the spouse or domestic partner has previously refused to testify in a criminal or delinquency proceeding against the same spouse or domestic partner for an offense against him or her; or

(B) An offense against a child, minor, or vulnerable adult who is:

(i) In the custody of or resides temporarily or permanently in the household of one of the spouses or domestic partners; or

(ii) Related by blood, marriage, domestic partnership, or adoption to one of the spouses or domestic partners;

(2) A civil proceeding involving the abuse, neglect, abandonment, custody, or dependency of a child, minor, or vulnerable adult who is:

(A) In the custody of or resides temporarily or permanently in the household of one of the spouses or domestic partners; or

(B) Related by blood, marriage, domestic partnership, or adoption to one of the spouses or domestic partners; or

(3) A criminal or delinquency proceeding where one spouse or domestic partner is charged with committing a crime jointly with the other spouse or domestic partner.

(b-2) Notwithstanding subsections (a) and (b) of this section, when one spouse or domestic partner is charged with committing a crime that occurred prior to the marriage of the spouses or prior to the filing of a domestic partnership agreement, the other spouse or domestic partner is both competent and compellable to testify against his or her spouse or domestic partner as to the crime, communications made by one to the other, and any other matter that occurred prior to the marriage of the spouses, or prior to the filing of the domestic partnership agreement.

(b-3) The burden is upon the person asserting a privilege under this section to establish that it exists.

(c) For the purposes of this section, the term:

(1) “Domestic partner” shall have the same meaning as provided in § 32-701(3).

(2) “Domestic partnership” shall have the same meaning as provided in § 32-701(4).

(3) “Refused to testify” means that the witness spouse or domestic partner has:

(A) Submitted an affidavit or other writing stating that she or he will not testify before a grand jury or in court;

(B) Taken the stand in the grand jury or in any court proceeding and asserted his or her privilege under this section not to testify; or

(C) Intentionally failed to appear in response to a subpoena.


(Dec. 23, 1963, 77 Stat. 519, Pub. L. 88-241, § 1; Apr. 4, 2006, D.C. Law 16-79, § 2(b), 53 DCR 1035; Dec. 10, 2009, D.C. Law 18-88, § 206, 56 DCR 7413.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 14-306.

1973 Ed., § 14-306.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 4-1321.05, § 16-1005, § 16-2359, and § 16-2388.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 16-79 rewrote the section.

D.C. Law 18-88 added subsecs. (b-1), (b-2), (b-3), and (c)(3).

Cross References

Family division proceedings, privilege under this section, see § 16-2359.

Neglected children proceedings, waiver of privilege, see § 4-1321.05.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 206 of Omnibus Public Safety and Justice Emergency Amendment Act of 2009 (D.C. Act 18-181, August 6, 2009, 56 DCR 6903).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 206 of Omnibus Public Safety and Justice Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2009 (D.C. Act 18-227, October 21, 2009, 56 DCR 8668).


§ 14–307. Confidential information.

(a) In the Federal courts in the District of Columbia and District of Columbia courts a physician or surgeon or mental health professional as defined by § 7-1201.01(11) or a domestic violence counselor as defined in § 14-310(a)(2), a human trafficking counselor as defined in §  14-311(a)(2), or a sexual assault counselor as defined in § 23-1907(10) may not be permitted, without the consent of the client, or of his legal representative, to disclose any information, confidential in its nature, that he has acquired in attending a client in a professional capacity and that was necessary to enable him to act in that capacity, whether the information was obtained from the client or from his family or from the person or persons in charge of him.

(b) This section does not apply to:

(1) evidence in a grand jury, criminal, delinquency, family, or domestic violence proceeding where a person is targeted for or charged with causing the death of or injuring a human being, or with attempting or threatening to kill or injure a human being, or a report has been filed with the police pursuant to § 7-2601, and the disclosure is required in the interests of public justice;

(2) evidence relating to the mental competency or sanity of an accused in criminal trials where the accused raises the defense of insanity or where the court is required under prevailing law to raise the defense sua sponte, or in the pretrial or posttrial proceedings involving a criminal case where a question arises concerning the mental condition of an accused or convicted person;

(3) evidence relating to the mental competency or sanity of a child alleged to be delinquent, neglected, or in need of supervision in any proceeding before the Family Division of the Superior Court;

(4) evidence in a grand jury, criminal, delinquency, or civil proceeding where a person is alleged to have defrauded the District of Columbia or federal government in relation to receiving or providing services under the District of Columbia medical assistance program authorized by title 19 of the Social Security Act, approved July 30, 1965 (79 Stat. 343; 42 U.S.C. § 1396 et seq.), where a person is alleged to have defrauded a health care benefit program, or where a person is alleged to have violated [§ 22-933.01]; or

(5) evidence in a criminal or delinquency proceeding where a person is charged with an impaired driving offense and where the person caused the death of or injury to a human being, and the disclosure is required in the interest of public justice.

(c) For the purposes of this section, the term:

(1) “Health care benefit program” means any public or private plan or contract under which a medical benefit, item, or service is or may be provided to an individual, and includes an individual or entity who provides a medical benefit, item, or service for which payment may be made under the plan or contract.

(2) “Injury” includes, in addition to physical damage to the body, a sexual act or sexual contact prohibited by Chapter 30 of Title 22.


(Dec. 23, 1963, 77 Stat. 519, Pub. L. 88-241, § 1; July 29, 1970, 84 Stat. 552, Pub. L. 91-358, title I, § 143(3); Mar. 3, 1979, D.C. Law 2-136, § 805(b), 25 DCR 5055; Mar. 16, 1985, D.C. Law 5-193, § 7, 32 DCR 1010; Mar. 25, 1986, D.C. Law 6-99, § 1101(a), 33 DCR 729; Apr. 30, 1988, D.C. Law 7-104, § 3, 35 DCR 147; Mar. 13, 2004, D.C. Law 15-105, § 99, 51 DCR 881; Mar. 2, 2007, D.C. Law 16-204, § 3(b), 53 DCR 9059; Apr. 24, 2007, D.C. Law 16-305, § 32, 53 DCR 6198; Dec. 10, 2009, D.C. Law 18-88, § 207, 56 DCR 7413; Oct. 23, 2010, D.C. Law 18-239, § 203(b), 57 DCR 5405; Apr. 27, 2013, D.C. Law 19-266, § 301, 59 DCR 12957; Nov. 20, 2014, D.C. Law 20-139, § 102(b), 61 DCR 5913; Apr. 27, 2021, D.C. Law 23-274, §§ 301, 401, 68 DCR 001034.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 14-307.

1973 Ed., § 14-307.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 4-1321.02, § 4-1321.05, § 4-1371.12, § 7-1911, § 16-2359, § 16-2388, § 34-1802, and § 47-368.02.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 15-105, in subsec. (a), substituted “§ 7-1201.01(11)” for “the District of Columbia Mental Health Information Act of 1978 (D.C. Official Code, sec. 7-1201.01 et seq.)”.

D.C. Law 16-204, in subsec. (a), substituted “as defined in § 7-1201.01(11) or a domestic violence counselor as defined in § 14-310(a)(2)” for “as defined in § 7-1201.01(11)”.

D.C. Law 16-305, in subsec. (a), substituted “client” for “person afflicted”.

D.C. Law 18-88, in subsec. (b)(1), substituted “evidence in a grand jury, criminal, delinquency, family, or domestic violence proceeding where a person is targeted for or charged with causing the death of or injuring a human being, or with attempting or threatening to kill or injure a human being, or a report has been filed with the police pursuant to § 7-2601,” for “evidence in criminal cases where the accused is charged with causing the death of, or inflicting injuries upon, a human being,”; in subsec. (b)(4), substituted “in a grand jury, criminal, delinquency, or civil proceeding” for “in criminal or civil cases” and substituted “approved July 30, 1965 (79 Stat. 343; 42 U.S.C. § 1396 et seq.), or where a person is alleged to have defrauded a health care benefit program.” for “approved July 30, 1965 (79 Stat. 343; 42 U.S.C. sec. 1396 et seq.).”; and added subsec. (c).

D.C. Law 18-239, in subsec. (b), substituted “defined in § 14-310(a)(2), or a human trafficking counselor as defined in § 14-311(a)(2)” for “defined in § 14-310(a)(2)”.

The 2013 amendment by D.C. Law 19-266 added (b)(5); and made related changes.

The 2014 amendment by D.C. Law 20-139 substituted "a human trafficking counselor as defined in § 14-311(a)(2), or a sexual assault victim advocate as defined in § 14-312(a)(7)" for "or a human trafficking counselor as defined in § 14-311(a)(2)" in (a).

Cross References

Adult protective services proceedings, waiver of professional privilege, see § 7-1911.

Family division proceedings, privilege under this section, see § 16-2359.

Neglected children proceedings, waiver of privilege, see § 4-1321.05.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2 of Sexual Assault Victims' Rights Clarification Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2020 (D.C. Act 23-552, Dec. 22, 2020, 68 DCR 00126).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2 of Sexual Assault Victims' Rights Clarification Emergency Amendment Act of 2020 (D.C. Act 23-412, Oct. 14, 2020, 67 DCR 12237).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 207 of Omnibus Public Safety and Justice Emergency Amendment Act of 2009 (D.C. Act 18-181, August 6, 2009, 56 DCR 6903).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 207 of Omnibus Public Safety and Justice Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2009 (D.C. Act 18-227, October 21, 2009, 56 DCR 8668).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 301 of Comprehensive Impaired Driving and Alcohol Testing Program Emergency Amendment Act of 2012 (D.C. Act 19-429, July 30, 2012, 59 DCR 9387).

For temporary amendment of (b), see § 301 of the Comprehensive Impaired Driving and Alcohol Testing Program Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2012 (D.C Act 19-508, October 26, 2012, 59 DCR 13325).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 301 of the Comprehensive Impaired Driving and Alcohol Testing Program Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-3, January 29, 2013, 60 DCR 2762, 20 DCSTAT 410).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 days) amendment of this section, see § 2 of Sexual Assault Victims' Rights Clarification Temporary Amendment Act of 2020 (D.C. Law 23-169, Dec. 23, 2020, 67 DCR 13032).

Editor's Notes

Section 301 of D.C. Law 20-139 provided that the Mayor, pursuant to § 2-501 et seq., may issue rules to implement the provisions of the act.


§ 14–308. Assessment officials as expert witnesses in condemnation proceedings.

In an action for the condemnation of lands, an official or other employee of the District, charged with the duty of appraising real property for assessment purposes, is not disqualified, by reason of the fact that he is so employed, from testifying as an expert witness to the market value of lands, and as to benefits.


(Dec. 23, 1963, 77 Stat. 520, Pub. L. 88-241, § 1.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 14-308.

1973 Ed., § 14-308.


§ 14–309. Clergy.

A priest, clergyman, rabbi, or other duly licensed, ordained, or consecrated minister of a religion authorized to perform a marriage ceremony in the District of Columbia or duly accredited practitioner of Christian Science may not be examined in any civil or criminal proceedings in the Federal courts in the District of Columbia and District of Columbia courts with respect to any —

(1) confession, or communication, made to him, in his professional capacity in the course of discipline enjoined by the church or other religious body to which he belongs, without the consent of the person making the confession or communication; or

(2) communication made to him, in his professional capacity in the course of giving religious or spiritual advice, without the consent of the person seeking the advice; or

(3)(A) communication made to him, in his professional capacity, by either spouse or domestic partner, in connection with an effort to reconcile estranged spouses or domestic partners, without the consent of the spouse or domestic partner making the communication.

(B) for the purposes of this paragraph, the term “domestic partner” shall have the same meaning as provided in § 32-701(3).


(Dec. 23, 1963, 77 Stat. 520, Pub. L. 88-241, § 1; July 29, 1970, 84 Stat. 553, Pub. L. 91-358, title I, § 143(4); Apr. 4, 2006, D.C. Law 16-79, § 2(c), 53 DCR 1035.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 14-309.

1973 Ed., § 14-309.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 16-79 rewrote par. (3) which had read as follows: “(3) communication made to him, in his professional capacity, by either spouse, in connection with an effort to reconcile estranged spouses, without the consent of the spouse making the communication.”


§ 14–310. Domestic violence counselors.

(a) For the purposes of this section, the term:

(1) “Confidential communication” means information exchanged between a victim and a domestic violence counselor during the course of the counselor providing counseling, support, and assistance to a victim, including all records kept by the counselor and the domestic violence program concerning the victim and services provided to the victim.

(2) “Domestic violence counselor” means an employee, contractor, or volunteer of a domestic violence program who:

(A) Is rendering support, counseling, or assistance to a victim;

(B) Has undergone not less than 40 hours of domestic violence counselor training conducted by a domestic violence program that includes dynamics of domestic violence, trauma resulting from domestic violence, crisis intervention, personal safety, risk management, criminal and civil court processes, and resources available to victims; and

(C)(i) Is or is under the supervision of a licensed social worker, nurse, physician, psychologist, or psychotherapist; or

(ii) Is or is under the supervision of a person who has a minimum of 5 years of experience rendering support, counseling, or assistance to persons against whom severe emotional abuse or a criminal offense has been committed or is alleged to have been committed, of which at least 2 years of experience involves victims.

(3) “Domestic violence program” means a nonprofit, non-governmental organization that supports, counsels, and assists victims, including domestic violence hotlines, domestic violence shelters, and domestic violence intake centers.

(4) “Intrafamily offense” shall have the same meaning as provided in § 16-1001(8).

(5) “Victim” means a person against whom severe emotional abuse or an intrafamily offense has been committed or is alleged to have been committed.

(b)(1) A domestic violence counselor shall not disclose a confidential communication except:

(A) As required by statute or by a court of law;

(B) As voluntarily authorized in writing by the victim;

(C) To other individuals employed at the domestic violence program and third party providers when and to the extent necessary to facilitate the delivery of services to the victim;

(D) To the Metropolitan Police Department or other law enforcement agency to the extent necessary to protect the victim or another individual from a substantial risk of imminent and serious physical injury;

(E) To compile statistical or anecdotal information, without personal identifying information, for research or public information purposes; or

(F) For any confidential communications relevant to a claim or defense if the victim files a lawsuit against a domestic violence counselor or a domestic violence program.

(2) Unless the disclosure is public, confidential communications disclosed pursuant to paragraph (1) of this subsection shall not be further disclosed by the recipient except as authorized in paragraph (1) of this subsection.

(3) Confidential communications are not waived by the presence of a sign language or foreign language interpreter. Such an interpreter is subject to the same disclosure limitations set forth in paragraph (1) of this subsection and the same privilege set forth in subsection (c) of this section.

(c)(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, when a victim is under 12 years of age, has been adjudicated incompetent by a court of competent jurisdiction for the purpose of asserting or waiving the privilege established by this section, or is deceased, the victim’s parent, guardian, or personal representative may assert or waive the privilege.

(2) If the parent, guardian, or personal representative of a victim described in paragraph (1) of this subsection has been charged with an intrafamily offense or has had a protection order or a neglect petition entered against him or her at the request of or on behalf of the victim, or otherwise has interests adverse to those of the victim with respect to the assertion or waiver of the privilege, the court shall appoint an attorney for purposes of asserting or waiving the privilege.

(d) The assertion of any privilege under this section is not admissible in evidence.


(Mar. 2, 2007, D.C. Law 16-204, § 3(c), 53 DCR 9059; Mar. 25, 2009, D.C. Law 17-368, § 4(d), 56 DCR 1338.)

Section References

This section is referenced in § 4-551, § 4-1321.02, § 14-307, § 32-131.04, and § 42-3505.07.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 17-368, in subsec. (a)(4), substituted “§ 16-1001(8)” for “§ 16-1001(5)”.


§ 14–311. Human trafficking counselors.

(a) For the purposes of this section, the term:

(1) “Confidential communication” means information exchanged between a victim and a human trafficking counselor during the course of the counselor providing counseling, support, and assistance to a victim, including all records kept by the counselor and the human trafficking program concerning the victim and services provided to the victim.

(2) “Human trafficking counselor” means an employee, contractor, or volunteer of a human trafficking program who:

(A) Is rendering support, counseling, or assistance to a victim;

(B) Has undergone not less than 40 hours of human trafficking counselor training conducted by a human trafficking program that includes dynamics of human trafficking, trauma resulting from human trafficking, crisis intervention, personal safety, risk management, criminal and civil court processes, and resources available to victims; and

(C)(i) Is or is under the supervision of a licensed social worker, nurse, physician, psychologist, or psychotherapist; or

(ii) Is or is under the supervision of a person who has a minimum of 5 years of experience rendering support, counseling, or assistance to persons against whom severe emotional abuse or a criminal offense has been committed or is alleged to have been committed, of which at least 2 years of experience involves human trafficking victims.

(3) “Human trafficking offense” means abducting or enticing a child from his or her home for purposes of prostitution (§ 22-2704); harboring such child (§ 22-2704); pandering (§ 22-2705); inducing or compelling an individual to engage in prostitution (§ 22-2705); compelling an individual to live life of prostitution against his or her will (§ 22-2706); causing spouse to live in prostitution (§ 22-2708); sexual performance using minors (§ 22-3102); forced labor as prohibited by [§ 22-1832]; trafficking in labor or commercial sex as prohibited by [§ 22-1833]; sex trafficking of children as prohibited by [§ 22-1834]; unlawful conduct with respect to documents in furtherance of human trafficking as prohibited by [22-1835]; or benefitting financially from human trafficking, as prohibited by [§ 22-1836].

(4) “Human trafficking program” means a nonprofit, non-governmental organization that supports, counsels, and assists victims of human trafficking.

(5) “Intrafamily offense” shall have the same meaning as provided in § 16-1001(8).

(6) “Victim” means a person against whom a human trafficking offense has been committed or is alleged to have been committed.

(b)(1) A human trafficking counselor shall not disclose a confidential communication except:

(A) As required by statute or by a court of law;

(B) As voluntarily authorized in writing by the victim;

(C) To other individuals employed at the human trafficking program and third party providers when and to the extent necessary to facilitate the delivery of services to the victim;

(D) To the Metropolitan Police Department or other law enforcement agency to the extent necessary to protect the victim or another individual from a substantial risk of imminent and serious physical injury or kidnapping;

(E) To compile statistical or anecdotal information, without personal identifying information, for research or public information purposes; or

(F) For any confidential communications relevant to a claim or defense if the victim files a lawsuit against a human trafficking counselor or a human trafficking program.

(2) Unless the disclosure is public, confidential communications disclosed pursuant to paragraph (1) of this subsection shall not be further disclosed by the recipient except as authorized in paragraph (1) of this subsection.

(3) Confidential communications are not waived by the presence of a sign language or foreign language interpreter. Such an interpreter is subject to the same disclosure limitations set forth in paragraph (1) of this subsection and the same privilege set forth in subsection (c) of this section.

(c)(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, when a victim is under 12 years of age, has been adjudicated incompetent by a court of competent jurisdiction for the purpose of asserting or waiving the privilege established by this section, or is deceased, the victim’s parent, guardian, or personal representative may assert or waive the privilege.

(2) If the parent, guardian, or personal representative of a victim described in paragraph (1) of this subsection has been charged with an intrafamily offense or has had a protection order or a neglect petition entered against him or her at the request of or on behalf of the victim, or otherwise has interests adverse to those of the victim with respect to the assertion or waiver of the privilege, the court shall appoint an attorney for purposes of asserting or waiving the privilege.

(d) The assertion of any privilege under this section is not admissible in evidence.


(Oct. 23, 2010, D.C. Law 18-239, § 203(c), 57 DCR 5405.)

Section References

This section is referenced in § 4-1321.02 and § 14-307.


§ 14–312. Sexual assault counselors.

(a) For the purposes of this section, the term:

(1) "Confidential communication" means:

(A) Information exchanged between a sexual assault victim 13 years of age or older and a sexual assault counselor during the course of the sexual assault counselor providing counseling, support, and assistance to the victim; and

(B) Records kept by a community-based organization in the course of providing victim advocacy services pursuant to [§ 23-1909] for sexual assault victim 13 years of age or older.

(2) "DC SANE Program" means the DC Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program that provides comprehensive medical forensic care to sexual assault victims including:

(A) The DC Forensic Nurse Examiners;

(B) The Child and Adolescent Protection Center; and

(C) Any other entity within the District that is a member of the SART or the multidisciplinary investigation team, as described in [§ 4-1301.51].

(3) “Intrafamily offense” shall have the same meaning as provided in § 16-1001(8).

(4) “MPD” means the Metropolitan Police Department.

(5) "Sexual assault" means any of the following offenses: §§ 22-1834 (sex trafficking of children); 22-2704 (abducting or enticing child from his or her home for the purposes of prostitution; harboring such child); 22-2705 (pandering; inducing or compelling an individual to engage in prostitution); 22-2706 (compelling an individual to live life of prostitution against his or her will); 22-2708 (causing spouse or domestic partner to live in prostitution); 22-2709 (detaining an individual in disorderly house for debt there contracted); 22-1901 (incest); 22-3002 (first degree sexual abuse); 22-3003 (second degree sexual abuse); 22-3004 (third degree sexual abuse); 22-3005 (fourth degree sexual abuse); 22-3006 (misdemeanor sexual abuse); 22-3008 (first degree child sexual abuse); 22-3009 (second degree child sexual abuse); 22-3009.01 (first degree sexual abuse of a minor); 22-3009.02 (second degree sexual abuse of a minor); 22-3009.03 (first degree sexual abuse of a secondary education student); 22-3009.04 (second degree sexual abuse of a secondary education student); 22-3010 (enticing a child or minor);22-3010.01 (misdemeanor sexual abuse of a child or minor); 22-3010.02 (arranging for sexual contact with a real or fictitious child); 22-3013 (first degree sexual abuse of a ward, patient, client, or prisoner); 22-3014 (second degree sexual abuse of a ward, patient, client, or prisoner); 22-3015 (first degree sexual abuse of a patient or client); 22-3016 (second degree sexual abuse of a patient or client); 22-3018 (attempts to commit sexual offenses); or 22-3102 (knowingly using a minor in a sexual performance or promoting a sexual performance by a minor).

(5A) "Sexual assault counselor" shall have the same meaning as provided in § 23-1907(10).

(6) "Sexual assault victim" means any individual against whom a sexual assault has been committed or is alleged to have been committed, including:

(A) Deceased individuals; and

(B) Representatives appointed by the court to exercise the rights and receive services on behalf of sexual assault victims who are under 18 years of age, incompetent, incapacitated, or deceased.

(7) [Repealed].

(b)(1) A sexual assault counselor shall not disclose a confidential communication except:

(A) As required by statute or by a court of law;

(B) As voluntarily authorized in writing by the sexual assault victim;

(C) To other individuals employed by the DC SANE Program and third party providers when and to the extent necessary to facilitate the delivery of services to the sexual assault victim;

(D) To the MPD or other law enforcement agency to the extent necessary to protect the sexual assault victim or another individual from a substantial risk of imminent and serious physical injury;

(E) To compile statistical or anecdotal information, without personal identifying information, for research or public information purposes; or

(F) For any confidential communications relevant to a claim or defense if the sexual assault victim files a lawsuit against a sexual assault counselor or the DC SANE Program.

(2) Unless the disclosure is public, confidential communications disclosed pursuant to paragraph (1) of this subsection shall not be further disclosed by the recipient except as authorized in paragraph (1) of this subsection.

(3) The confidentiality of a confidential communication shall not be waived by the presence of, or disclosure to a:

(A) Sign language or foreign language interpreter; provided, that a sign language or foreign language interpreter shall be subject to the limitations and exceptions set forth in paragraph (1) of this subsection and the same privileges set forth in subsection (c) of this section;

(B) Third party participating in group counseling with the sexual assault victim; or

(C) Third party with the consent of the victim where reasonably necessary to accomplish the purpose for which the sexual assault counselor is consulted.

(4) Except as provided in this subsection, no sexual assault counselor shall be compelled to reveal a confidential communication in any civil, criminal, or administrative proceeding, unless the sexual assault victim has given written consent.

(5) Notwithstanding § 4-1321.02, sexual assault counselors shall be exempt from mandatory reporting of any crime disclosed in a confidential communication unless the sexual assault counselor has actual knowledge that the crime disclosed to the sexual assault counselor involves:

(A) A victim under the age of 13;

(B) A perpetrator or alleged perpetrator with whom the sexual assault victim has a significant relationship, as that term is defined in § 22-3001(10); or

(C) A perpetrator or alleged perpetrator who is more than 4 years older than the sexual assault victim.

(b-1) The presence of a sexual assault counselor shall not waive any privilege otherwise guaranteed by law.

(c)(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, when a sexual assault victim has been adjudicated incompetent by a court of competent jurisdiction for the purpose of asserting or waiving the privilege established by this section, or is deceased, the sexual assault victim’s parent, guardian, or personal representative may assert or waive the privilege.

(2) If the parent, guardian, or personal representative of the sexual assault victim described in paragraph (1) of this subsection has been charged with an intrafamily offense, sexual assault, or has had a protection order or a neglect petition entered against him or her at the request of or on behalf of the sexual assault victim, or otherwise has interests adverse to those of the sexual assault victim with respect to the assertion or waiver of the privilege, the court shall appoint an attorney for purposes of asserting or waiving the privilege.

(d) The assertion of any privilege under this section is not admissible in evidence.


(Nov. 20, 2014, D.C. Law 20-139, § 102(c), 61 DCR 5913; Mar. 3, 2020, D.C. Law 23-57, § 5, 66 DCR 15914.)

Applicability

Section 402 of D.C. Law 23-274 provided that the amendments made to this section by Law 23-57 shall apply as of January 1, 2021.

Section 3 of D.C. Act 23-552 provided that the amendments made to this section by Law 23-57 shall apply as of January 1, 2021. Therefore those amendments shall be implemented for this section on January 1, 2021.

Section 3 of D.C. Act 23-412 provided that the amendments made to this section by Law 23-57 shall apply as of January 1, 2021. Therefore those amendments shall be implemented for this section on January 1, 2021.

Section 9(a) of D.C. Law 23-57 provided that the amendments made to this section by Law 23-57 shall apply as of October 1, 2020. Therefore those amendments shall be implemented for this section on October 1, 2020.

Editor's Notes

Section 301 of D.C. Law 20-139 provided that the Mayor, pursuant to § 2-501 et seq., may issue rules to implement the provisions of the act.