Code of the District of Columbia

§ 23–501. Definitions.

*NOTE: This section includes amendments by temporary legislation that will expire on April 16, 2022. To view the text of this section after the expiration of all emergency and temporary legislation affecting this section, click this link: Permanent Version.*

As used in subchapters II, IV, and V of this chapter —

(1) The term “judicial officer” means a judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia or of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, or a United States commissioner or magistrate for the District of Columbia.

(2) The term “law enforcement officer” means an officer or member of the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia, or of any other police force operating in the District of Columbia; an investigative officer or agent of the United States; animal control officer employed by the District of Columbia; or the Fire Marshal and any member of the Fire and Arson Investigation Unit of the Fire Prevention Bureau of the Fire Department of the District of Columbia, for the purpose of enforcing arson and the fire safety laws of the District of Columbia, who is so designated in writing by the Fire Chief.

(3) The term “prosecutor” means the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia or his assistant, the Corporation Counsel of the District of Columbia [Attorney General for the District of Columbia] or his assistant, or an attorney employed by, and who has entered an appearance on behalf of, the United States or the District of Columbia in a criminal case or in an investigation being conducted by a grand jury.

(4) “Field arrest” means a non-custodial arrest made pursuant to § 23-584 that requires the person to appear within 15 days before an official of the relevant law enforcement agency to complete the arrest process, or within 90 days, if the non-custodial arrest was conducted during a period of time for which the Mayor has declared a public health emergency pursuant to § 7-2304.01.

(5) “Release on citation” means the process by which a person arrested for eligible misdemeanors may be released on his or her promise to appear at a future date in court, or at some other designated place.

(6) “Releasing official” shall have the same meaning as provided in § 23-1110(a)(1).


(July 29, 1970, 84 Stat. 613, Pub. L. 91-358, title II, § 210(a); Oct. 18, 1988, D.C. Law 7-176, § 9(b), 35 DCR 4787; Mar. 26, 1999, D.C. Law 12-176, § 4, 45 DCR 5662; Apr. 24, 2015, D.C. Law 20-243, § 2(a)(2), 61 DCR 8320; Sept. 3, 2021, D.C. Law 24-23, § 201, 68 DCR 005837.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 23-501.

1973 Ed., § 23-501.

Effect of Amendments

The 2015 amendment by D.C. Law 20-243 added (4), (5), and (6).

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 201 of Comprehensive Policing and Justice Reform Emergency Amendment Act of 2021 (D.C. Act 24-128, July 29, 2021, 68 DCR 007656).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 705 of Coronavirus Support Emergency Amendment Act of 2021 (D.C. Act 24-30, Mar. 17, 2021, 68 DCR 003101).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 705 of Coronavirus Support Second Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2020 (D.C. Act 23-405, Aug. 19, 2020, 67 DCR 10235).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 705 of Coronavirus Support Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2020 (D.C. Act 23-328, June 8, 2020, 67 DCR 7598).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 705 of Coronavirus Support Emergency Amendment Act of 2020 (D.C. Act 23-326, May 27, 2020, 67 DCR 7045).

For temporary amendment of section, see § 4 of the Arson Investigators Emergency Amendment Act of 1998 (D.C. Act 12-406, July 13, 1998, 45 DCR 4833),§ 4 of the Arson Investigators Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 1998 (D.C. Act 12-466, October 28, 1998, 45 DCR 7838), and § 4 of the Arson Investigators Second Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 1998 (D.C. Act 12-539, December 24, 1998, 46 DCR 297).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 days) amendment of this section, see § 201 of Comprehensive Policing and Justice Reform Temporary Amendment Act of 2021 (D.C. Law 24-23, Sept. 3, 2021, 68 DCR 005837).

For temporary (225 days) amendment of this section, see § 705 of Coronavirus Support Temporary Amendment Act of 2020 (D.C. Law 23-130, Oct. 9, 2020, 67 DCR 8622).