Code of the District of Columbia

§ 16–2305.02. Preliminary probation conferences; adjustment process.

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

(1) “Adjustment process” means the process by which the Social Services Division and the Office of the Corporation Counsel may proceed where a determination is made that the filing of a delinquency or persons in need of supervision petition is not in the best interests of the child or public.

(2) “Nonviolent offenses” means those offenses identified as such by the Office of the Corporation Counsel in an interagency agreement with the Social Services Division, but shall not include a “crime of violence” as defined in section 1(f) of An Act To control the possession, sale, transfer, and use of pistols and other dangerous weapons in the District of Columbia, to provide penalties to prescribe rules of evidence, and for other purposes, approved July 8, 1932 (47 Stat. 650; § 22-4501(f)), or possessory firearm offenses.

(b) Where the Director of Social Services recommends, after a preliminary inquiry is conducted pursuant to D.C. Official Code § 16-2305(a), that it is not in the best interests of the child or public to recommend the filing of a delinquency or persons in need of supervision petition, the Director of Social Services shall so recommend to the Office of the Corporation Counsel, and the Corporation Counsel shall make a determination of the suitability of the case for adjustment, which may include diversion. The Director of Social Services shall permit any participant who is represented by a lawyer to be accompanied by the lawyer at any preliminary conference.

(c) In order to determine whether the case is suitable for adjustment, the Director of Social Services, in consultation with the Office of the Corporation Counsel, shall consider the following circumstances, among others:

(1) The age of the child;

(2) Whether the conduct allegedly involved:

(A) An act or acts causing or threatening to cause death, substantial pain, or serious physical injury to another;

(B) The use or knowing possession of a dangerous instrument or deadly weapon;

(C) The use or threatened use of violence to compel a person to engage in sexual intercourse, deviant sexual intercourse, or sexual contact;

(D) The use or threatened use of violence to obtain property;

(E) The use or threatened use of deadly physical force with the intent to restrain the liberty of another;

(F) The intentional starting of a fire or the causing of an explosion which resulted in damage to a building;

(G) A serious risk to the welfare and safety of the community; or

(H) An act which seriously endangered the safety of the child or another person;

(3) Whether there is a substantial likelihood that the child will not appear at scheduled conferences with the Social Services Division or with an agency to which he or she may be referred;

(4) Whether there is a substantial likelihood that the child will not participate in the diversion programs or services developed and recommended by the Social Services Division or cooperate during the adjustment process;

(5) Whether there is a substantial likelihood that in order to adjust the case successfully, the child would require services that could not be administered effectively in less than 6 months;

(6) Whether there is a substantial likelihood that the child will, during the adjustment process:

(A) Commit an act which, if committed by an adult, would be a crime; or

(B) Engage in conduct that endangers the physical or emotional health of the child or a member of the child’s family or household; or

(C) Harass the complainant, victim, or person seeking to have a delinquency petition filed, or a member of that person’s family or household, where demonstrated by prior conduct or threats;

(7) Whether there is pending another proceeding to determine whether the child is a child in need of supervision or a delinquent;

(8) Whether there have been prior adjustments or adjournments in contemplation of dismissal in other delinquency proceedings;

(9) Whether there has been a prior adjudication of the child as a delinquent child or child in need of supervision;

(10) Whether there is a substantial likelihood that the adjustment process would not be successful unless the child is temporarily removed from his or her home and that such removal could not be accomplished without invoking the court process;

(11) Whether a proceeding has been or will be instituted against another person for acting jointly with the child; and

(12) Whether the juvenile case would otherwise have been petitioned by the Office of the Corporation Counsel.

(d) At the preliminary inquiry, the Director of Social Services shall inform each person entitled to be present of the function and limitations of, and the alternatives to, the adjustment process, and that:

(1) He or she has a right to participate in the adjustment process, which may include, but is not limited to, periodic drug testing, attendance at parenting classes, or participation in counseling, treatment, or educational programs;

(2) The Social Services Division is not authorized to and cannot compel any person to appear at any conference, produce any papers, or visit any place absent court order;

(3) The person seeking to have a delinquency petition filed is entitled to have access to the Office of the Corporation Counsel at any time for the purpose of requesting that a petition be filed;

(4) The adjustment process may continue for a period of 6 months and may be extended for an additional six months upon written application to the Director of Social Services and the Office of the Corporation Counsel and approval thereof by both;

(5) Statements made to the Social Services Division or the Office of the Corporation Counsel by the child or his or her parent shall not be admissible for any purpose during any subsequent court proceeding and are subject to the confidentiality provisions contained in this chapter; and

(6) If the adjustment process is commenced and not successfully concluded, the persons participating therein may be notified orally or in writing of that fact by the Social Services Division, that the case will be referred to the Office of the Corporation Counsel and that oral notification must be confirmed in writing.


(Apr. 9, 1997, D.C. Law 11-199, § 2(b), 43 DCR 4385; Mar. 24, 1998, D.C. Law 12-81, § 10(z), 45 DCR 745.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 16-2305.2.

Editor's Notes

Section 28(c)(1) of D.C. Law 15-354 provided that the section designation of § 16-2305.2 of the District of Columbia Official Code is redesignated as § 16-2305.02.