Code of the District of Columbia

Chapter 37. Bias-Related Crime.


§ 22–3701. Definitions.

For the purposes of this chapter, the term:

(1) "Attorney General" means the Attorney General for the District of Columbia.

(1A) “Bias-related crime” means a designated act that demonstrates an accused’s prejudice based on the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, family responsibility, homelessness, disability, matriculation, or political affiliation of a victim of the subject designated act. A designated act need not solely be based on or because of an accused's prejudice[].

(2) “Designated act” means a criminal act, including arson, assault, burglary, injury to property, kidnapping, manslaughter, murder, rape, robbery, theft, or unlawful entry, and attempting, aiding, abetting, advising, inciting, conniving, or conspiring to commit arson, assault, burglary, injury to property, kidnapping, manslaughter, murder, rape, robbery, theft, or unlawful entry.

(3) “Gender identity or expression” shall have the same meaning as provided in § 2-1401.02(12A).

(4) “Homelessness” means:

(A) The status or circumstance of an individual who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence; or

(B) The status or circumstance of an individual who has a primary nighttime residence that is:

(i) A supervised publicly or privately operated shelter designed to provide temporary living accommodations, including welfare motels, hotels, congregate shelters, and transitional housing for the mentally ill;

(ii) An institution that provides a temporary residence for individuals intended to be institutionalized; or

(iii) A public or private place not designed for, or ordinarily used as, a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings.

(5) "Person" means any individual, firm, corporation, partnership, cooperative, association, or any other organization, legal entity, or group of individuals however organized; provided, that for the purposes of a civil action brought against an individual pursuant to § 22-3705, the term "person" shall not include an individual who is 17 years of age or younger.


(May 8, 1990, D.C. Law 8-121, § 2, 37 DCR 27; Apr. 24, 2007, D.C. Law 16-305, § 37(a), 53 DCR 6198; June 25, 2008, D.C. Law 17-177, § 12(a), 55 DCR 3696; Mar. 25, 2009, D.C. Law 17-353, § 236(a), 56 DCR 1117; Dec. 10, 2009, D.C. Law 18-88, § 217(a), 56 DCR 7413; May 15, 2021, D.C. Law 23-283, § 4(a), 68 DCR 764.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 22-4001.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 16-305, in par. (1), substituted “disability” for “handicap”.

D.C. Law 17-177, in par. (1), substituted “sexual orientation, gender identity or expression” for “sexual orientation”; and added par. (3).

D.C. Law 17-353 validated a previously made technical correction in par. (1).

D.C. Law 18-88, in par. (1), substituted “family responsibility, homelessness,” for “family responsibility,”; and added par. (4).

Cross References

Crime of violence defined, compensation of victims of violent crimes, see § 4-501.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 217(a) 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 § 217(a) of Omnibus Public Safety and Justice Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2009 (D.C. Act 18-227, October 21, 2009, 56 DCR 8668).


§ 22–3702. Collection and publication of data.

(a) The Metropolitan Police Department shall afford each crime victim the opportunity to submit with the complaint a written statement that contains information to support a claim that the designated act constitutes a bias-related crime.

(b) The Mayor shall collect and compile data on the incidence of bias-related crime.

(c) Data collected under subsection (b) of this section shall be used for research or statistical purposes and may not contain information that may reveal the identity of an individual crime victim.

(d) The Mayor shall publish an annual summary of the data collected under subsection (b) of this section and transmit the summary and recommendations based on the summary to the Council.


(May 8, 1990, D.C. Law 8-121, § 3, 37 DCR 27; May 15, 2021, D.C. Law 23-283, § 4(b), 68 DCR 764.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 22-4002.


§ 22–3703. Bias-related crime.

A person charged with and found guilty of a bias-related crime shall be fined not more than 11 /2 times the maximum fine authorized for the designated act and imprisoned for not more than 11 /2 times the maximum term authorized for the designated act.


(May 8, 1990, D.C. Law 8-121, § 4, 37 DCR 27.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 22-4003.


§ 22–3704. Civil action.

(a) Irrespective of any criminal prosecution or the result of a criminal prosecution, any person who incurs injury to his or her person or property as a result of an intentional act that demonstrates an accused’s prejudice based on the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, family responsibilities, homelessness, disability, matriculation, or political affiliation of a victim of the subject designated act shall have a civil cause of action in a court of competent jurisdiction for appropriate relief, which includes:

(1) An injunction;

(2) Actual or nominal damages for economic or non-economic loss, including damages for emotional distress;

(3) Punitive damages in an amount to be determined by a jury or a court sitting without a jury; or

(4) Reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs.

(b) In a civil action pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, whether an intentional act has occurred that demonstrates an accused’s prejudice based on the actual or perceived color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, family responsibilities, homelessness, disability, matriculation, or political affiliation of a victim of the subject designated act shall be determined by reliable, probative, and substantial evidence.

(c) The parent of a minor shall be liable for any damages that a minor is required to pay under subsection (a) of this section, if any action or omission of the parent or legal guardian contributed to the actions of the minor.


(May 8, 1990, D.C. Law 8-121, § 5, 37 DCR 27; Apr. 24, 2007, D.C. Law 16-305, § 37(b), 53 DCR 6198; June 25, 2008, D.C. Law 17-177, § 12(b), 55 DCR 3696; Dec. 10, 2009, D.C. Law 18-88, § 217(b), 56 DCR 7413; May 15, 2021, D.C. Law 23-283, § 4(c), 68 DCR 764.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 22-4004.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 16-305, in subsecs. (a) and (b), substituted “disability” for “handicap”.

D.C. Law 17-177, in subsec. (a), substituted “sexual orientation, gender identity or expression” for “sexual orientation”.

D.C. Law 18-88, in subsecs. (a) and (b), substituted “family responsibilities, homelessness,” for “family responsibilities,”.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 217(b) 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 § 217(b) of Omnibus Public Safety and Justice Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2009 (D.C. Act 18-227, October 21, 2009, 56 DCR 8668).


§ 22–3705. Attorney General civil enforcement.

(a) The Attorney General may, irrespective of any criminal prosecution, the result of any criminal prosecution, or any cause of action brought pursuant to § 22-3704, bring, in the name of the District of Columbia, a civil action for appropriate relief whenever any person, whether or not acting under color of law:

(1) Commits a bias-related crime; or

(2) Through any act of violence, force, fraud, or intimidation:

(A) Interferes or attempts to interfere with an individual's exercise of any right secured by the United States Constitution or District law; or

(B) Deprives any individual of the equal protection of the United States Constitution or District law.

(b) In the course of an investigation to determine whether to seek relief under this section, the Attorney General may subpoena witnesses, administer oaths, require sworn written responses to written questions, examine an individual under oath, and compel production of records, books, papers, contracts, and other documents and materials, subject to the procedures in §§ 1-301.88d and 1-301.88e.

(c) Appropriate relief under this section may include:

(1) Injunctive relief;

(2) Actual or nominal damages for economic or non-economic loss, including damages for emotional distress;

(3) Punitive damages in an amount to be determined by a jury or a court sitting without a jury, which may include treble damages for any economic or non-economic loss the person suffered;

(4) Reasonable attorneys' fees and costs;

(5) A civil penalty of up to $10,000 per act giving rise to a cause of action under subsection (a) of this section; or

(6) Any other relief which the court determines proper.


(May 8, 1990, D.C. Law 8-121, § 6; as added May 15, 2021, D.C. Law 23-283, § 4(d), 68 DCR 764.)