Code of the District of Columbia

§ 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, physical 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, physical 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.)

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).